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LO Nile roots and shady ground - help

Sacramento, CA

I have removed a number of overgrown agapanthas/Lily of the Nile from my mostly shady front yard - they had been there for about 10 years (before we bought the place) and were very overgrown, messy, sick and FULL of snails. Some of the roots are about 3-4" thick, and I can't seem to eradicate all of them no matter how deeply I dig.

I want to plant wild flowers and perennials there, but don't know how to treat the soil as to overcome the aggressive LON roots.

It is mostly shady. I don't have much money to spend - have been out of work for a couple of years - but want to start something that will grow over time.

Any suggestions - either for eridication w/out permanent harm or to things to plant in their place? I have seeds for poppies and other wild flowers. I am more inclined to use perennials than annuals. Help?

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

I can't help much with the eradication of your LON other than to keep digging. Roundup would seem to do it but the plant has to be growing for it to work so it won't work now. I don't think that roundup on the roots would help. Do you have a photo of the space?

Have you thought about putting ferns in additon to the perennials. Sword fern is a good one for a bargain because it multiplies quickly and you can get quite a lot of it out of one pot. Have you thought about camellias or azaleas or hydrangeas in addition to your perennials?

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

Doss is right about continuing to dig up the LON roots . Luckily, their roots are very "pulpy" (for lack of a better word) as opposed to hard and wirey. Once they (the roots ) are exposed to the air, and you stop watering them, they'll dry up and be easier to remove. They can be difficult to erradicate, especially for as long as yours have been there.
They do form huge thick clumps of roots.

Make sure you dig up as much of the crown of the plant as possible and as many roots as you can. (New plants won't grow from all those fleshy white roots.) Keep turning the soil as often as possible to expose the remaining roots and let the air and sunlight dry them up. Then you can pick them out and discard them as they start to dessicate and decompose.

Sacramento, CA

Thanks all!

Spooner, WI

I wonder if laying down a piece of plastic, or a board over the area & covering with mulch for a while will help? I know that plastic for an extended amount of time can cause problems, but for 6 months or so? Not the most attractive solution, but might do the trick.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

You might use newspapers. That's pretty effective at killing lawn.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Newspapers work great. Try unfolding sections and overlaping by 1/2 so the whole area gets 8-10+ layers, then cover with several inches of mulch or compost. You can set plants in small slits and have an attractive plot as you smother the unwanted plants.

Spooner, WI

That's how I've started new gardens lately. Dig a hole in un-tilled ground, put in good soil, compost, whatever, plant whatever I want & surround by cardboard or newspapers, & cover with mulch. Virtually no weeding & kills most of the existing weeds & grass.

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