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landscaping question

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I have a big maple tree in the front yard and have a difficult time getting the grass to grow under it. We are thinking of doing a circle of lanscaping blocks a two or three high and then planting flowers under it.

Is this a good idea? will the flowers grow?

I have never done anything with retaining wall block, but have seen it used in this fashion in the past. I see some that are nice and some that are nice to start with but then become un even after a couple of years.

What do I need to do to make sure they look good when I am done and also stay level and look good in a couple of years also?

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The quick response is that you'll have to go far enough out to where you're not trying to put the blocks on top of the roots, if you have roots above ground.

The roots move, your retaining wall block moves.

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I'm no expert but was told by a landscaper you can only put about 6" of dirt fill around trees with out possibly killing them. I used the block type edging with landscape rock. If you go the otherway just chose plants that do well in shade and realize you will have to water them a lot since the base of big trees are always very dry.

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Sounds like a silver maple. an extra foot of dirt on those roots might be too much. Also, the trees roots are on the surface because they like to be there. Usually when you place dirt on the roots of a maple they continue to move to the surface. It might take a while for them to move a foot, but they might displace your blocks.

I would suggest using one layer of edging, a couple inches of potting mix or mulch and then planting. You aren't placing too much stress on the roots, you're eliminating the "dead spot" and you can still add some interest with flowers or potted plants.

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You should never lay more then 2-3" of soil over the critical root zone of any tree. Much more than that and you will suffocate the roots. Then in 2-4 years you will see die back.

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