Ignorance is bliss. When I was ignorant of how awful it was to plant a fruit tree on top of the rotting roots of a removed almond tree, it took about 20 minutes to plant said fruit tree. Dig the hole nice and big, pull out any obvious old roots, add compost, putter about where the new roots would lay, fill in a bit, putter some more, fill in more, and eventually tamp the loose soil with my feet. An enjoyable little job in the early spring sunshine. But now I’ve been enlightened, and have learned all about how those almond roots are the Source of Much Evil. So with a sigh, I knew I had to dig those old roots out before I could plant my impulse cherry and plum purchases. No problem, there ought to be what, 5 roots down there? Wrong, wrong, wrong. The work was hard, and for the illionth time I almost broke that poor fiberglass shovel in half, but the “root extraction” proved to be a great education. I found knots. And insect colonies. And oozy-yellow reddish slimy patches. I never knew how much was happening, three feet under. The roots in question seemed to occupy a 4’x4’x3′ area, so a very great amount of digging had to happen. Some of the roots had so much soil on top that we had to use the tractor bucket for extra digging power. After four hours, the little trees were happily tucked away; and for the future, I am so very happy to have a friend with a backhoe, because I don’t plan on ever doing that by hand again!