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Soil and Composting: preventing roots invading compost bin

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 7, Views: 94
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scubadoobie
Chicago, IL

October 4, 2008
11:28 PM

Post #5633754

Hi -

My mom in California has a compost bin (one of those Bio-Stack types). However, a nearby bougainvillea has discovered it too - the plant is flourishing and the really nice fine material at the bottom can't really be harvested because there is a thick mat of fine roots. She told me she is doing things like taking a chunk of the roots, soaking them in water, and making compost/root tea of some kind! But that seemed a little unfortunate, so I was wondering - anyone with similar experiences? Can something like hardware cloth be used on the bottom?

Thanks!
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

October 4, 2008
11:33 PM

Post #5633768

Not familiar with bouganvillea since it doesn't grow here. But most roots would find a way through hardware cloth. They're just seeking the best soil and conditions. It might be necessary to relocate either the compost bin or the plant.

Karen
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

October 6, 2008
1:47 AM

Post #5637524

We went to a Bokashi system for compost...tree roots kept finding our compost bin and we never got a bit from it in 8 years!!!! you might try a different system...in a cylinder you turn that sits off the ground...
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

October 6, 2008
10:56 AM

Post #5638441

Can your Mom just relocate the bin farther away from the plant?

Karen
scubadoobie
Chicago, IL

October 6, 2008
2:27 PM

Post #5639008

Hi -

Thanks for comments, everyone! The yard is quite small and so I think that no matter where she puts the bin, something will likely 'discover' it. I suppose we could consider putting down some pavers or old sheeting, perhaps? The bin itself certainly is fairly established and has all sorts of micro-organisms and such already, so that might not hurt the ecosystem in there.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

October 6, 2008
5:15 PM

Post #5639645

What about raising the bin...just off the ground...let the juices continue to leach into the ground and feed the beasts but keep the roots out...
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

October 7, 2008
10:26 PM

Post #5644459

Quoting:What about raising the bin...just off the ground...let the juices continue to leach into the ground and feed the beasts but keep the roots out...

Aloha, I have Biostacks, and you can't really raise them off of the ground since they have no "floor" on the bottom--they are comprised of open squares of plastic set on top of each other. Biostacks like being set up right on the dirt so earthworms can get inside.
I agree with kqcrna that most really invasive roots would find their way through hardware cloth. My six Biostacks are located near some smaller shrubs, which haven't infiltrated them. Maybe moving the Biostack elsewhere in the yard, even though it is small, would work out. Also, perhaps turning the compost more frequently would break up the root system that wants to develop!
(edited for some typos!)

This message was edited Oct 7, 2008 6:27 PM
jonsmom
College Station, TX

October 8, 2008
2:58 AM

Post #5645499

I don't know if this is possible with the Biostacks, but I have started putting thick layers of newspaper on the ground before I start my compost stacks. Usually it lasts long enough to keep the roots out of one batch of compost. I have to replace it when I start the next batch. When turning the compost, just be sure not to disturb the newspaper layer.

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