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Gus

Landscaping hurt trees?

14 posts in this topic

I have two rows of pine and aspen trees mixed. Probably 30-35 trees total. The pine trees are now getting wide enough where I can't run my mower in between them and it is getting to be a real pain to mow. I'm thinking of doing some landscape block around them and filling the area with landscape fabric and mulch. Will doing this hurt my trees at all? I assume the fabric will still let the water down to the roots, but will there be any issues with suffocating the trees or anything else?

Thank you for your tips.

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There wont be any issues if you avoid piling too much over the top of the root zone. Leave your edging line as far out from the trees as possible. Dont raise the grade at all. Simply put in your edging stone (dont use retaining wall block), then lay the area with your landscape fabric. Put cheap mulch over top of the fabric so your not stuck looking at just the fabric. From there you can add plants as you want.

People run into problems when they build up retaining walls around the base of existing trees. They raise the grade around the tree by 2' or more. They take established trees and put them into cute little retaining wall boxes. This buries the root zone under far too much soil and other materials for the roots to ever recover. The big problem with this is that the root damage takes 4 years or more to come through so people dont realize they have done any damage. A few years later they wonder why their tree is doing poorly.

Dont change the grade around the trees and your trees will do better by not having to compete with the turf.

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Gus -

If you wanted to just put some plastic edging around the trees, to give you a barrier between the turf and the mulch, Ruddy's in Forest Lake, or Chisago Hardware will rent a power edger where you can dig a 6" trench around the area, and put the edging in very quickly.

There's also a version that will dig a "trench" so you could set the small landscaping blocks in if you wanted to go that route, just not sure if it's the same machine, or if they even have one.

It'll save you 1/2 day of labor at least, if not a full day with how many trees you have to go around.

It just piles the dirt right along side the trench, so you can just quickly push it back against whatever you put in.

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I would not use landscape fabric under mulch because it serves no purpose.3 to 4 inches of mulch will inhibit weed growth. thicker mulch depth the further out you go.Be sure to round up grass and weeds in bed before you mulch.

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Do you have much pine needle build up? The pine straw makes a good natural mulch around pine trees. A potential problem, pine trees and pine straw mulch will gradually cause the soil to go acid, and the pines like it that way. I don't know about the acid preferences of your aspens though, perhaps someone else can help out with this info.

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Mulch is verry bennificial to trees. Keeps moisture in and keeps soil tempature down. Like Quitico said Dont over load next to tree and one thing to watch is not to have mulch resting on bark of tree, this could promote rot on bark of tree and kill it. When the bark is rotted from tree this exposes thae cambian layer under the bark. and the cambiam layer is what carries nutrients for the tree.

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Gus this all sounds ok, but DON"T use lanscaping fabric under mulch.

Mulch naturally decays and fabric will hinder this and also is not needed. The mulch should be about 6" deep to do its job natuarlly.

Fabric should only be used under rock.

also make sure the edging is out far enough to consider the size of the trees at full maturity.

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Lots of great advice here guys. Thank you.

Quentico, could you expand on the differences between edging stone and retaining wall block? Why not to use the block? I was almost thinking of going this route for a single course or maybe two depending on the height.

Gus

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Lots of great advice here guys. Thank you.

Quentico, could you expand on the differences between edging stone and retaining wall block? Why not to use the block? I was almost thinking of going this route for a single course or maybe two depending on the height.

Gus

not to step on Quetico's toe's, but- the wall block technicly would work, but will probably look to bulky and out of place. It does depend on the size of the tree and the area to landscaped, and location of the tree.

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I comes down what looks good . IMO wall block look out of place as a boarder. The natural look of edging stone will disguise any grade changes and when they shift,and they will over time, it wont be noticeable.

With wall block you are dealing with straight vertical edges when one block is out of level with the block next to it there is a gap, either on the top or bottom, between the block and looks half hazzerd put together.

natural edging stone can get rather expensive but they do make a concrete product that simulates ntural stone that less expensive for boarder edging at your local landscape store. Menards might even carry it

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Don't want to hijack the thread....but would like to get thoughts on some landscaping I just did recently. Since reading this thread I am wondering if I may be harming the trees. Will the little mound I did here possibly kill these trees? It used to be totally flat, but the wife is planning on some plants here. I am aware of acidic nature of being under these trees.

It's kind of hard to make out but I would say it's 1' at most. I tried to make it away from the tree a little....and trying not to cover up a majority of the root area of the trees.

053e2d73.jpg

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311 Hemi-

Just throw down your chosen mulch and maybe some edging of your choice. Consider possibly adding some plants. This is one of those sites where some people will fight with turf. I wouldn't. Just add some mulch and some plants.

The only reason I suggested landscape fabric for the original post here was because the fabric will ensure any weeds or grass that are in the given area will die and wont come through the mulch.

Please remember you can mulch trees to death. I dont want to destroy anyone's world but there is a point where mulch can be a bad thing if you pile on too much. Remember trees of a huge amount of shallow roots that need to be shallow so they can breath. If you bury those shallow fine roots in thick layers of mulch or top soil they will die. Root damage takes generally 4-7 years to become evident.

In areas such as pictured above, limit yourself to 3-4" of fine mulch and 6-7" of course mulch. Never use more than 8" of mulch over top of existing root systems.

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Going back to Gus's question of retaining wall block vs. edging pavers and stone.

Retaining wall block will work just fine as an edging if you intend on building it up a bit behind the retaining wall block. Generally retaining wall block is made for the face not the top appearance. Also they dont always fit together on the front and back as pavers or edging stones would. Retaining wall block is much heavier (most), needs to be sunken in further for stability and tends cost more.

I use pavers because they give you the same edge with less material. They tend to fit together better. Also they are far easier to install. They generally are the 2" thick range vs 4-6" for retaining wall block. People always seem to want that edge they can ride the lawn mower tire on. So that means your only sinking the pavers in 1.5-2", less digging. Pavers are made for the top surface not the side.

Both will work. I just prefer to use pavers or edging stones for edging. I've been doing this too many years to not have a preference. But at the end of the day your the one paying for materials, doing the install and has to look at it for the next few years.

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Thanks for the follow up.

All good information and I'll be taking it all into consideration.

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