hemlock tree

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I have a very large hemlock tree and I would like to put a raised bed around it about a foot deep and 15 foot around the tree. I would like to know if hemlocks will root up into soil added around the roots? I'm afraid it will keep anything from growing?

And also the same question applying to a gum tree ( I think it is a gum tree- the kind that has the prickly little balls that fall off)

Thank you

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

That would be a good way to kill both trees. No reason to worry about root competition with anything you add.

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

I agree with VV. I've seen it many times before with conifers. Roasty-toasty.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah VV has that right. You never want to build up soil around the root base of trees.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Uh oh- this spring I spread 6" of a lightweight commercial planting mix under my pine tree, and planted in it. I kept it away from the bark at the base. I had read in several places that most trees could tolerate 6" without being smothered, in fact even deeper addition was recommended by various "experts" as The Best Way To Do It. (Larry Hodgson "Making the Most of Shade", George Schenk "The Complete Shade Gardener", Graham Rice "Planting the Dry Shade Garden", probably some others I can't recall. It certainly WAS easier than trying to squish plants in between the roots, into clay. So far the tree looks fine, and I have no losses of my new plants either. We'll see...

Thumbnail by Pistil
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

ok, well I did intend to keep the new soil about 3 feet out around the actual trunk of the tree, not cover that. How far away from the tree do I need to be to add a raised bed? It just looks terrible because it is so shaded and I guess the tree roots too (?) that nothing is growing there for a long ways and it is just dusty dirt, no grass even.

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

You could do 6" of nice organic composty-soil and do some ground-covers that bloom. The raised beds can start at the drip-line on the edge of the tree.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

would hosta live in the 6 inche area? I am afraid that by adding the composty/soil and watering often will invite the tree to root up into it choking out my groundcovers?

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

You could put landscape fabric over before you install the soil. I have the same problem with 3 large cedars.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Tree roots need to pull in a certain amount of oxygen. By putting too many layers of anything over top of them, this cuts or limits the supply of oxygen. It will decrease the life of the tree. I especially wouldn't put landscape fabric over the roots but it's your tree to do with as you please :)

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