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Ailanthus to break up pavement?

 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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The yard that I will soon be helping design & manage will have to have some pavement removed eventually, though not necessarily by me.

Ailanthus is plentiful in the area (one common name for it is "ghetto palm", and I was wondering if rooting some cuttings of it sideways along existing cracks might help break the pavement into smaller chunks.  There will be about six months for the roots to do their work, and the plants can be cut out and the cracks thoroughly covered before further planting if the strategy doesn't work.

Does this sound wise?  Any thoughts on how to help the cuttings get established, while still guiding them toward the cracks?

(Edit: removed term I had misused.)
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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although planting to break it up might work, i'd think it would damage the plants when you remove it..and why not just get it broken up and removed and not fool around with plants to break it up?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Damaging the plants doesn't concern me at all.  Their niche is upheval and collapse, so not many of such plants will have a space in the garden in the end (my intent is 0).  There is abundant habitat for them elsewhere in Oakland, so I don't feel bad removing them.

It would be nice if I could give a few plants access to the soil under the pavement during the time I am gardening there.  The garden is planned to be temporary, but  that might mean several years.  While I have access, there is no budget to have anything done with heavy equipment, or even to rent that equipment and do it myself.

I don't have a big axe, but I do have a small tree. 
 
Leah Sattler
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I have seen silver maple eventually break out driveways.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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A new development:  The soil is too contaminated to leave in place, and so the money will be found to have it (and the pavement) removed professionally.  Or a different building entirely will be found. 

Were the soil not toxic, I now think I would plant daikon, perhaps with judicious use of a masonry drill bit, in rows that follow existing cracks plus any new cracks needed to give a manageable size of pavement block.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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well i have seen maple roots break up pavement pretty quickly
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Maple...good to know. The Japanese varieties do OK around here.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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