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Can You Help Identify These Mystery Roots?

I had this email from Tom asking for help identifying these roots growing in his plot. Any help welcome!

Whilst preparing to plant in the spring I noticed that roughly 6” to 8” below the surface had a network of what looks like the roots of mares tail. I removed as much as I could and planted as usual.

Now, whilst digging out the remainder of my early potatoes I notice that I have this network of roots back again but in more concentrated form. As there is no visible plant life above ground attached to these roots I am perplexed as to what they are. It certainly does not seem to have affected the crops as I have had bumper crops this year.

My soil is of a light sandy nature and not very moisture retentive, and requires very regular watering. I am attaching a couple of photos of the roots (not all) dug out of an area approximately 6’ x 3’

Have you ever come across anything like this, or has any of your readers ever reported a similar problem? Any information would be most helpful.

Supplementary Information

I queried if he’d any mares tail in the area or trees nearby. Although they don’t really meet the profile for tree roots as there are no thick roots for the thin to come from. He came back with this supplementary information.

I have lived at this address for 7 years and have not (as yet) seen any mares tail in my garden. I had mares tail in my previous garden but it was always confined to a couple of areas and I have never encountered this amount of roots before. They were also thinner in diameter although similar looking. The roots in my soil now are 1mm to 1.5mm in diameter and quite strong to break. The thing that I thought of originally was that it could be “bootlace”, however I researched this on the internet and do not believe that it is that.

Any ideas? Pop them in the comments box below.

Mystery Weed Roots 1

Mystery Weed Roots 1

Mystery Weed Roots 2

Mystery Weed Roots 2

Mystery Weed Roots Zoom

Mystery Weed Roots Zoom

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
6 comments on “Can You Help Identify These Mystery Roots?
  1. Kathy says:

    Looks like horsetail

  2. Terry Gardener says:

    Tree roots … they can travel quite a long way from their source ..

  3. Nicholas says:

    Ground Elder?

  4. virginia bara says:

    I, unfortunately, have tons of this too. I believe it is honey fungus – no cue for it and it will attack any plants that are weak or damaged. I just dig it up and burn it. It seems to start with trees that have been cut down. It spreads rapidly.

    • Tom Wilkinson says:

      Hi Virginia. I think you could be right, I have heard it called “boot Lace” as it resembles the old fashioned shoe laces. I did have an old apple tree which I chopped down a few years ago and I first noticed it there.
      Fortunately it doesn’t appear to affect the vegetables I am growing.
      Many thanks.

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