• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Dan Boone
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
  • Mike Barkley

Grade changes near a tree

 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a large and established tree with some surface roots. What would happen to the tree it I piled up earth to make a mound in its root area?

Of course, I would keep the dirt away from the stem— probably by about ten feet.

How close to the tree could I dig? Or in other words, how many roots can a tree afford to loose? I know any standard rule in this case would only be a generalization, but I would be interested in what people have done or seen.
 
steward
Posts: 1748
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What type of tree ? Some species have very shallow feeder roots that run quite a distance from the trunk . Birch , for instance . They would not tolerate loss of feeder roots as well as deep rooted types .
 
Posts: 5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As an arborist, one of the things that I see most that is detrimental to trees is grade changes and root impact. What you see in the air on the tree is nothing without the vast network of roots and fungi in the soil. Disturbing that balance can often be the thing that sends a tree into a spiral of decline and an untimely demise. Often times the stress of root impact and grade change is what attracts insects that then attack and kill trees. I would recommend not doing grade changes under the drip line of the tree (the point that a drop falling from the outermost tips of the tree would land) or if you do, make them very minimal and do them incrementally over multiple years. Never backfill around the stem or the root flare at the base of the tree.

Having a consulting arborist look at the tree in question is always a good first step. That might tell you how long lived the variety it is and what kind of stress that variety can typically take in your environment. I am curious what variety it is as well.

Best of luck

Ryan

 
steward
Posts: 3109
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
603
hugelkultur urban chicken food preservation bike bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We did a grade change around a sugar maple tree. We used boulders pretty much at the drip line, and mounded up soil beyond those. Maples are really active with the surface roots and seem adaptable, to me. A decade previous I piled mulch all around the trunk (OK, not touching the trunk, but giving it a big mulch circle) and it sent roots up into the mulch over time. An oak tree can be killed with just 6 inches of dirt if you cover up too much of the root mass, or so I've been told.
 
You'll never get away with this you overconfident blob! The most you will ever get is this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!