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vegetable area by sycamore tree

muirswondermuirswonder near InvernessPosts: 13
Hello I am going to put my new vegetable area close to a sycamore tree. Due to the tree roots nothing does that well (but it's sunny) so I am going to put landscape fabric in the bottom of the raised (quite high) beds. WHAT could I use as ground cover between the beds? Fabric and gravel = perfect seed bed for sycamore seedlings. Fabric and bark = even worse. Does it have to be slabs? thanks for your help! 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 80,514
    I don’t want to be a Jonah, but when we put raised beds in a garden with an ash tree nearby, within a couple of years we found the beds were full of tree roots,  as they had searched out the moisture in the raised beds and penetrated the substantial landscaping fabric we’d lined the raised beds with. 

    In the end we had the tree felled (there are others elsewhere but further away in the garden so we’re not treeless). Now we have a conventional veg patch and don’t need the raised beds. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,128
    edited December 2021
    How close is close? It’s generally advised to keep veg beds at least 5 metres from the drip line (edge of the leaf canopy) of any tree. As Dove says, the roots will grow into and suck any life out and moisture out of the soil and your veg won’t thrive. 

    The only way I could see you keeping sycamore roots out is to create deep, raised beds with a solid poured concrete bottom and sides, gravel in the base and weep holes drilled into the sides at gravel level for drainage.
  • EmptyheadtimeEmptyheadtime Ireland Posts: 157
    Like dove said, i have a raised veg bed near a tree, i have lined it but within 2 years i need to dig out all the bed as the roots manage to find a way in and suck all the goodness and moisture out. 
  • muirswondermuirswonder near InvernessPosts: 13
    Thank you very much Dovefromabove & Nollie & Emptyheadtime! That is good advice and I'll have to have a rethink. I need a bigger garden... Or take the tree down (we also have others, but there are about 6 Sycamores grown together and they are huge..). HM. And yes the raised beds would have been within the drip line. Thanks again and happy gardening. MW
  • All is not lost.  Sycamore makes great firewood.
  • muirswondermuirswonder near InvernessPosts: 13
    Yes, thanks - might have to take out a mortgage to get that clump of huge trees down...  :hushed:
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,909
    What about raised beds with some sleepers under to keep the bottoms off the ground?  Cheaper than a second mortgage.  
    Utah, USA.
  • muirswondermuirswonder near InvernessPosts: 13
    Thank you Blue Onion - that sounds like something feasible! Great tip. 
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