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How to build burm around existing tree?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by bligh61, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. bligh61

    bligh61 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 239

    I have to build a raised planting area around an existing 25' bradfprd pear. The new bed will be raised approx. 2-3 '. Any ideas to protect the trunk of the bradford. thanks
  2. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 549

    Filling in that much around a tree is going to kill it. What's the purpose?
  3. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,322

    this will sound strange but i have seen it done, build a 4x4 box around it as high up as the surronding bed will be so outside the box is high but inside around the tree trunk is the same grade then they nailed fabric tight across the box and put a thin layer of mulch on top of it so it looked like the tree was at the same grade . sounds weird but could save that trees life
  4. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    That 4x4 box idea might alieviate the trunk issue, but 2-3 feet of soil on top of existing tree roots out to the drip line is a bit much. The tree will suffer. Might have to advise against in talking with your client.

    Get rid of the shi#$% Bradford and start over with another tree anyway! hehe
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    You need to build a tree well, but even that is risky business with the roots that deep. The problem is lack of aeration to the roots.

    I think it would be more practical and probably more economical to hire a tree moving company to lift it out, build the berm, and reset the tree. As long as you have the soil and equipment there the tree would only have to sit in the spade for an hour or so in between lifting it and resetting it.

    The tree spade service would run about $2k in my area for a tree that size. That would be cheaper and a nicer result than taking measures to aerate the roots and building a proper tree well.
  6. Focal Point Landscapes

    Focal Point Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    With the typical branch structure of the Bradford , its hard to imagine a tree spade fitting around one that old , although that is probably the only option that would work . This tree is near the end of its practical use cycle and will probably start falling apart soon - wind or ice damage , etc. We had a storm here last week with 40 mph plus wind - a Bradford down the street about that size snapped and the entire tree fell , crushed a car in the driveway and pulled the power line from the house - major damage from an ornamental tree . They all will start losing major branches as they reach this size - its not if , but when. The wisest thing to do is convince the client to remove the tree .
  7. TreeCo

    TreeCo LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 6

    I agree, the tree is going to die. Remove it and plant a better cultivar. Bradford's have a fairly short life span and have growth defects that result in large branch tear outs that usually ruin the specimen.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Lay steel catwalk grates across the first layer of railroad ties. Your planting material is 8 inches above the ground and the ties do not touch the trunk. Obviously stone can work as well, but may sit on a larger area of ground.
    Give your self a quick takedown system so you can get in there with a chainsaw later. :)
  9. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    the tree has a maximum life span of only 30 years and starts decline at or around 20 25 years so consider its current age when investing in this project. But to answer your question their is a billzillion ways to do this I like the idea of a fieldstone ring around the trunk.

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