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Am I killing the trees?

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by Carly on September 19, 2004 07:24 PM
A busybody in our building wrote one of her chintzy little notes, suggesting that I might be killing the trees by surrounding them.

As you know from looking at my pictures, I like to make circles 'round the trees and either throw pine cones into those circles, plant cultivated stuff in fresh soil OR just plant wild stuff that's already growing on the lot.

She might be partially right - I did read somewhere (sorry I can't be specific) that putting rich garden soil over tree roots can kill 'em.

Any views on this?

I'm not really worried about proving Ms. Judgment right or wrong - my main concern is the welfare of the trees and plants on the property.

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When sorting seeds, do not whistle.
by catlover on September 19, 2004 07:56 PM
Carly....I have heard the same thing several times but darned if I can remember where. [perplexed] Some trees may be more sensitive than others. [dunno]
Hopefully an arborist will come through. [kitty]

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by plants 'n pots on September 19, 2004 08:08 PM
Carly, I was once told by a local landscaper that one should not plant right up to the base of a tree trunk because it would smother the roots. He said to leave a ring around the trunk open before putting anything surrounding the trunk, and to be sure that water gets down into the ring.

I'm not sure how true this is... just passing along what I was told when I was thinking about ringing my 4 huge town planted maples with something since the grass won't grow under them. My neighbors on either side have planted things right up to the trunks of their maples, and so far, so good, but it's only been a few years since they've done this.

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 - Lynne's knitting journal  -  -  -
"I'm spayed, declawed, and housebound - how's YOUR day going???"
by Jiffymouse on September 20, 2004 12:25 AM
from the photos i have seen of what you have done, you aren't in any danger of harming the trees in question. the things to keep in mind are:

is there lots of soil added to the ground around the trees (by lots, i mean more than a couple of inches. one or two inches isn't an issue.

is there adequate space between the plants to allow for water drainage

are you changing the trees' natural environment significantly

does the plant in question seem to like it under the tree "as is" in the pots or among the pine cones?

you have good taste and good sense. no one likes their feet buried, but we all like to squish our toes in the mud. trees are the same way. not totally buried, but a little mud never hurt.
by Carly on September 20, 2004 04:45 AM
OK - that's what I'll do - I'll see that there's space 'tween the soil I've been using for planting and the tree trunk.

I'll pour water in there frequently then.

I only dug down about two inches, but I used a plastic edging - all in all, there's 4 inches worth of soil with plants in it.

The natural environment? Hmmmm . . . dunno'.

Thanks for your help on this, all of you.

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When sorting seeds, do not whistle.
by Jiffymouse on September 21, 2004 01:14 AM
you have the right plan!! [thumb]
by weezie13 on September 21, 2004 08:11 AM
Carly,
I think when sometimes they say you shouldn't do that is that some trees have shallow root systems.. and when you plant under the tree, especially when you add fresh soil under the tree and on top of the roots, the roots are then "smothered" as a lack of a better word!!!
They don't have the ability to raise themselves above what they had already and would unstablize the tree, having to move the trees roots more up in to the air to the top of the new soil?????

Also, like Lynne said;
quote:
I was once told by a local landscaper that one should not plant right up to the base of a tree trunk because it would smother the roots.
That's because you shouldn't put the new soil UP to the base of the tree as, it does a few things...
It keeps moisture around an area that grew up thru the dirt at a certain point, with the bark exposed... but when you add the new dirt, it's then putting soil on to the bark area of the trunk.
It then in turns, invites such things as bugs, worms, critters up to the bark that would normally be kept dry, being away from the soil.

But, if you keep the soil away from the bark area, and depending which tree you plant under, it should be ok......I am not firmiliar with which ones are which????

Maybe Papito can give us a list of some trees that have shallow roots???? [dunno] [thumb]

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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by gardenmom32210 on September 21, 2004 03:44 PM
Heres some of the trees that I know of that can be shallow rooted...

American Elm
Ash
Beech
Birch
Citrus
Cottonwood
Ficus
Hackberry
Maple
Pine
Pin Oaks
Poplars
Sweet Gum
Willows

Karen [grin]
by weezie13 on September 21, 2004 04:11 PM
Thanks Gardenmom [thumb] [kissies]

I definately know the maple is,
I mow their poor roots a few times a season,
they seem to heave up everytime I go over them. [tears]

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by catlover on September 21, 2004 06:57 PM
adding Crepe Myrtles to gardenmom's list!
[kitty]

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by gardenmom32210 on September 22, 2004 05:15 AM
I forgot about them...thank you,Karen.

Karen [grin]
by Newt on September 23, 2004 02:46 AM
Trees need oxygen for their roots. Adding more than 2" to 4" of soil and/or mulch can cause problems for the trees. Take a look at these sites for helpful info on how to plant around your trees.

http://www.tlcfortrees.info/mulching_staking.htm
http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/trees_turf.asp
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/planting/rootballdimensions.htm

Newt

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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
by Carly on September 24, 2004 07:06 AM
Well, thank you everyone - I will definitely do something about this. It is fall and I can take some of these plants out, lift out the soil, then make sure 'something' keeps the soil away from the bark.

The people up the street actually surrounded their big tree with leaves and let it mulch - it became soil, of course and wild stuff grew on it all summer.

I didn't see that the tree itself suffered, but like you say, it could happen over a few years.

Yes - one of the trees is a birch - the other is an austrian pine.

The other trees are planted around didn't get any added soil - I just used what was already there and I just planted wild stuff that was already growing there.

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When sorting seeds, do not whistle.
by Carly on September 24, 2004 07:07 AM
Well, thank you everyone - I will definitely do something about this. It is fall and I can take some of these plants out, lift out the soil, then make sure 'something' keeps the soil away from the bark.

The people up the street actually surrounded their big tree with leaves and let it mulch - it became soil, of course and wild stuff grew on it all summer.

I didn't see that the tree itself suffered, but like you say, it could happen over a few years.

Yes - one of the trees is a birch - the other is an austrian pine.

The other trees are planted around didn't get any added soil - I just used what was already there and I just planted wild stuff that was already growing there.

Oh! And let me add something . . . most of the trees on our lot aren't in good shape anyway - they were that way when we came. Jeff is the owner's super/manager - she doesn't really want to put any money into the lot.

Landlords are in the biz of renting apartments - not trees & grass. Ha!

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When sorting seeds, do not whistle.

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