Lining a raised bed to prevent tree roots

karin_mt(4 MT)May 3, 2013

Hi folks,

This is my first time posting on the tree forum as I am normally in the greenhouse or kitchen forums. But I have a common problem, which is tree roots occupying the raised beds in the kitchen garden. My plan is to excavate the raised beds and put a liner of sorts at the bottom of the bed. I understand that this may only be a temporary fix and that tree roots are clever and aggressive. Given that, what sort of liner do you recommend? Any other words of wisdom?

The raised beds are about 15' from the trees and the trees are an aspen and a golden willow. The trees are 14 years old and this just became a problem last year. I know these are thirsty trees but we love them nonetheless and they are a definite asset in our landscape. The afternoon shade they provide is actually a good thing for the veggie beds, so can get a little reprieve from the heat.

Thanks for whatever wisdom you can share!


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i doubt anything that allows proper drainage.. will stop a willow or an aspen ...

move the veg garden ...

and if you cant ... then work in pots .. and these trees will even invade those.. if you dont move them 2 or 3 times per year ...

when digging.. presume that EVERY root you cut in digging.. will branch and replace that lost with two or three ... and therein .. you can see the losing battle ...

good luck/ you will need it


    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 1:12PM
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There is a product called Bio Barrier which is a fairly stiff fabric with "buttons" that release a root inhibiting chemical over a considerable period of time. The product does work if installed correctly - not all that easy since a considerable amount of excavation is required and the stiffness makes the product difficult to handle. It's also quite expensive, but might be worth it to you if the area is small. The web address is

There may be other similar products. Copper compounds will prevent root intrusion, so there may be fabrics impregnated with these.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:43AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Thank you both for your advice. BioBarrier is intriguing but the reason it works so well is because it's lined with a pre-emergent herbicide. Seeing as I'm trying to keep those sorts of things out of our veggie garden, I'm going to have to pass on that. Neat idea though, and copper might be a better alternative.

We've got an idea hatching to use pond liner, and then allowing for drainage out the bottom edges of the bed (slightly above grade). I think we'll line 2 of the 3 affected beds and see how it works out.

I do understand now that we've got a non-trivial problem on our hands, so we'll see what solutions we can come up with.

Thanks for chiming in!


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:29PM
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