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Raised bed + existing tree

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by wratke, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. wratke

    wratke LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I'm seeking some advice regarding an install job I did in July. It was my first install, and everything seemed to go really well, the home owners were really happy with their new beds, etc. But after doing some research on raised bed installs on this site, I've realized that I made a mistake in the raised bed we installed in their front yard. They had a tree they wanted to keep (not sure what kind, I can't recall), so we incorporated it into the design of the bed and planted a purple leaf sandcherry behind it as a counterpoint. I tried to leave the base of the tree as exposed and free from topsoil as I could, but I'm imagining that it's settled and that the tree will most likely be dead within the next couple of years. I'm kicking myself, realizing that I should have sold them on a new tree when we did the install. They had other work they were going to have me come in to do next season, so I'm wondering how I should proceed: should I try and sell them on a new tree and remove/plant a new one at cost(no labour or mark up) as a fix up for my mistake? Or should I let them know of my error and propose a bit of mulch around the base of the tree. Honestly, the tree wasn't anything special, I personally think they'd be better off with a new tree.

    On a side note, I'm wondering if anyone up this far north (Northerly Alberta) has a problem with the extreme freeze/thaw cycles we have up here? We did a by the book install with a 3" gravel base. I'm hoping it's still level when I drive by to check it out this spring. I'm planning on offering a fix up if it has heaved. That leads me to ask, is fixing a raised bed fairly easy? Or are we talking taking the whole bastard apart and starting from scratch.

    Looking forward to any advice, this board has been an excellent resource for broadening my knowledge in preparation for the coming season.

  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    Keep mulch and soil off of the trunk of the treee. You could dig out a foot or two around it and set some rocks as a retainer (tree well) to keep it from filling back in.

    How deep is it buried?
  3. wratke

    wratke LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I can't recall how deep it's buried, probably at least a foot, maybe a bit less than a foot. There were four or five courses of brick in the front, so it could be a bit more than a foot. Enough to smother the tree though.
  4. Grassbuster

    Grassbuster LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    I agree with AGLA on putting some rocks around to hold the dirt back.

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