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Hugelkultur under trees

 
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Hello,

I'm a newcomer to this forum. I have a question about hugelkultur. I do landscaping on small parks with hugelkuktur's method. On thoses parks, there are mostly big trees. The most of time, I don't have any choice, I have to do hugelkultur's mounds on the roots on thoses trees; some don't recommend to do this because it's not good for the roots's breathing. But is it really so bad for the trees?

Thank for answers and sorry for my English.

Gilles
 
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Welcome to permies.com

I don't know the answer, but I'm writing this to bump the thread to the top and hopefully someone here can help you out.
 
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I would think that it depends on a lot of things. The soil type would probably play a role. The percentage of the root zone being covered would matter. The types of trees would make a difference. Really big trees with little hugels in a straight line across one side probably wouldn't make a difference. Burying most of the root zone with a hugel ring around a tree probably wouldn't be a great idea. You can probably find videos on youtube of people using air spades on trees to relieve compaction and aerate soil.

If a tree has a road or other pavement covering a good portion of the root zone and a hugel is built on the remainder of the root zone then it could also be problematic. Certain trees that tend to do well as street trees would likely also deal with it better. You could look at similar trees in the area that have large portions of their root zone covered and look at their heath as sort of a gauge for what you can get away with. If the trees are cut back a significant amount then they would lose some root zone and eventually grow new roots where they need them.
 
Gilles Bélanger
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Thank Daniel and R Ranson for your answer. I appreciate it. It will be very useful.
 
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Daniel has answered quite comprehensively as regards the 'trees perspective', but I would add that I think it is understood based on your post that you are building these hugel mounds atop the existing soil; it would obviously be extra damaging to dig trenches in the root zone of the tree to install them.

From the gardeners perspective, there are trees under which I wouldn't bother building hugels, because the tree roots will take over the new yummy moist soil so quickly; around here, the biggest culprit is western red cedar.

Switching back to the trees perspective, if you had sad cedar trees dying in the recent drought, nearby hugels might help!
 
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I dumped a load of horse manure under a tree and was told it could damage the tree. I think it has to do with moisture not penetrating that area.
 
Gilles Bélanger
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Dillon, yes, I will build hugel mount atop the existing soil. I will not dig. Thank for your answer.
 
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Hi Gilles, and welcome to Permies!

I think you might find this thread helpful: http://www.permies.com/t/50364/forest-garden/Raised-Garden-Bed-Hugel-Fruit. I had asked a similar question about putting a hugel between my fruit trees, and most people considered it a good idea, as long as the tree roots were still able to get oxygen in other areas, and the mound was not right up against the tree. There were a lot of good responses in the thread that might help in your situation, too. I ended up making the hugel this winter, and so far my trees look happy and the mound is doing well.

I hope that helps!
 
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