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zlssefi
04-24-2011, 11:50 AM
I have a customer that wants a box for planting flowers installed around the tree in his front yard. the tree is probably an 8 or 10 inch maple. My question is, how do you level the blocks, or timbers when the roots of the tree are showing in the dirt already? trying to figure out how to do this without raising the box too high with fill....thanks for the responses in advance!

lukemelo216
04-24-2011, 01:14 PM
I would just put the box out far enough where it wont be hitting roots. Instead of having it 3 feet away from the tree can you have it 4 feet instead.

Dr.NewEarth
04-24-2011, 03:41 PM
I'm an ISA arborist and a journeyman horticulturist.
If you put any kind of fill on top of where the top of the roots now are, you will stress the tree. This is relevant to any-where within the drip line.
The client is potentially going to have disease and insect problems in the future.

Large roots may rise and fall depending on the current ground water conditions

Also, I am concerned with the butt of the tree possibly rotting from the fill soil going so high up the trunk and you will get adventitious roots in the new soil as well.
They can eventually grow to such proportions with this species of tree, that a thick mat
will form and be difficult to dig and plant in in the future. Doing so will also cause stress on the tree.

Could they not just purchase some nice pots and place them there?
Odd numbered groupings always look the best in landscape design.

lukemelo216
04-24-2011, 04:32 PM
I have to agree now that I've thought about it more. Your best bet would be to create a flowerbed around that tree, and then just appply a nice 2-3" of hardwood mulch around the tree. Then they can plant whatever are the bed or just put some nice planters in there.

If you were to be doing this around a new tree you are getting ready to plant no problem. You build the planter box then plant the tree, but if your building a box around an existing tree then throwing 6"-12" of soil and mulch in it your going to be severely hurt that tree and it will lead to large problems down the road.
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PerfectEarth
04-24-2011, 04:33 PM
Advise you customers not to do this, as dr.newearth has given you enough reasons. I've seen a bunch of these terrible planter boxes and "block" walls around trees and frankly, they suck. Bad for the tree and not good looking at all.

At least, you could make a nice, natural bed edge (ring) around the tree, strip the grass/weeds on the surface, add some LIGHT garden mix soil, mulch, and mass plant annuals or groundcover- something that won't require digging a hole more than a 2-3 inches deep. Don't disturb the larger roots.

Dr.NewEarth
04-24-2011, 06:46 PM
I'm an ISA arborist and a journeyman horticulturist.
If you put any kind of fill on top of where the top of the roots now are, you will stress the tree. This is relevant to any-where within the drip line.
The client is potentially going to have disease and insect problems in the future.

Large roots may rise and fall depending on the current ground water conditions

Also, I am concerned with the butt of the tree possibly rotting from the fill soil going so high up the trunk and you will get adventitious roots in the new soil as well.
They can eventually grow to such proportions with this species of tree, that a thick mat
will form and be difficult to dig and plant in in the future. Doing so will also cause stress on the tree.

Could they not just purchase some nice pots and place them there?
Odd numbered groupings always look the best in landscape design.







I'll add that Acer, aka Maple's are one of the tree species that prevents competition in its root zone through "allelopathy"

This is where the tree sends out a toxin or a signal if you prefer into the soil and it can kill the other plants.

Now, I have planted annuals within an Acers roots, but there were always issues.

I have had shrubs within the root zone die eventually, as the tree matured and its roots spread to where it touched the shrubs roots.

Black Oaks are famous for doing this through '"allelopathy"

Smallaxe
04-25-2011, 12:11 AM
A planter with 5 sides and a surrounding bench, is built on stilts/legs and lookd fairly nice, if done right... Laying blocks to put up a box is probably in the Pictionary for tacky... :)

Dr.NewEarth
04-25-2011, 01:57 PM
adventitious roots is another way of saying epicormic root growth

Smallaxe
04-26-2011, 01:23 PM
http://www.sesl.com.au/pub/articles/Soils_and_Tree_Roots.pdf
"The root system of a tree is dynamic (Watson 1990) and changes its depth of maximal activity according to season, moisture, and oxygen availability (physical properties).
Nevertheless, the location and depth of major roots cannot change overnight and rapid
alterations are often fatal."

zlssefi
04-27-2011, 08:08 AM
Im convinced its not a good idea to put in this planter, the planter would have to be about 5 feet past the drip edge of the tree to avoid any roots, and that would make it the size of the front yard...lol i think ill convince the customer to put a couple inches of topsoil and growing mix in, just deep enough to plant a few flowers.

lukemelo216
04-27-2011, 09:21 AM
man this is crazy, im sorry to bash you on here, but you posted this question 3 days ago, for a small and simple job and you still havent given anything to the customer.

People always wonder why they arent getting work and such but sometimes its obvious. 3 days isnt terribly long, but for a simple job like that its pushing it. Some people on here are contemplating quotes and bids for a few weeks at a time for simple stuff too.

I met with a client last night about a retaining wall and a patio, and I will start the design of it today and have it finished id say by tomorrow night, and everything bid on it by friday.

In this age, its important to try to be the first one to bid on anything, because theres so much competition out there, they can just move right on to the next. I dont know how many times ive talked to people this year that have said, you were the only one that answered your phone during the day, or returned our phone call right away and not waited until 7pm or something.

Its important, you need to get stuff put together immedietly and answer your phone

Good luck with the sale.

zlssefi
04-29-2011, 12:45 AM
It just so happens that ive been in contact with the customer the entire time, every other day ive been calling them and letting them know about my findings, we have yet to come to a final decision as to what they want. Bash away if you like, but ive been in the business 14 years and have watched many companys come and go. If your so interested in bidding on work quicker, why are you on here bashing others? get back to your bidding.....

Smallaxe
04-29-2011, 07:25 AM
I wouldn't really call it 'findings'... There is a lot of bs about trees in this tree hugging generation, that borders mythology right out of the Universities... I would look around in the real world, photos and magazines to look at things that have been done in the past, and might look like something the client is interested in...

I've seen intersting things right in a neighboring town that were done well before I went to school there and the trees are still standing... Obviously consider the roots of the tree and exercise minimal impact strategy, but the fanaticism is just too nuts... :)

lukemelo216
04-29-2011, 10:25 PM
I am not trying to be a jerk, and thasts good that your in contact with them in regards to the information you found. Yours probably was a bas example, but there are some people on here with questions about mowing or mulch or planting a bush or 2 that seem to wait weeks at a time before submitting a bid, which is just assanine to me.

I get a call about a job, i look at it, do any research and bid. yes some things do take a week to bid on because of the complexity but its the simple jobs im talking about.

sorry i was a jerk about it, but i am glad to see your actually taking time to research and not just throwing something together and praying it will work.