Flower Bed Around a large Tree


Old 05-08-13, 08:13 AM
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Question Flower Bed Around a large Tree

I have a large maple tree which is the only shade in my back yard. I would like to
make a bed around the tree in order to plant some hosta.

I am edging the planter with river rock and would like to know if I need to put the
soil up against the tree or if I need to create a barrier between the soil in the bed and the tree.

Also: The added earth will be only about 6 inches. I will remove the grass. I
need to know if I need to put landscape fabric under the soil. Will hair-like roots
grow up into the bed from the tree?

Old 05-08-13, 02:30 PM
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I try to not change the soil height touching a tree and I'm more hesitant to do so the older & larger it gets. But, it probably would not hurt since many people pile deep layers of mulch around trees all the time.

I'm torn about the landscape fabric. The hosta roots will want to go deeper than 6in and the tree roots will want to grow up into the new, good soil. In the end I'm certain the tree roots will find their way in. In the forest you'll notice that trees do a good job limiting what can grow underneath them by consuming much of the water and nutrients. I have done some beds on a hillside next to some trees and in just one season it's amazing how big the tree roots can become.

I have had good luck with plants in pots. I get large plastic pots and drill large drainage holes in the bottom. The plants in the pots will eventually send their roots down through the drain holes and into the earth so they are happy while it's difficult for tree roots to find their way up and through the holes. If they do, I use a machete underneath the pot to cut the roots. The plant in the pot has all it's roots in the pot so it quickly recovers and sends down new roots.

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