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Old 04-19-2011, 06:17 PM   #1
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Large Mulch bed under maple trees questions


We have a pair of large maples flanking our front porch. I have given up growing grass under my maple tree. Also, we've been advised to mulch around the tree to protect the many shoulders of the maple that are close/on the surface.

I've laid out two large beds and want some advice about how to edge them.
Here's the one tree (this one grows pretty descent grass):

The theorized bed is outlined with flags.

DH would like a brick/stacked block wall, but I'm trying to convince him that there is no way to level a wall because of the number and density of roots.

Here is a shot of both trees:

- Any thoughts about size (I've got them at 22 feet diameter right now)?
- edging?
- anything else?

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:16 PM   #2
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Large Mulch bed under maple trees questions


My unscientific observations over the years have been that maple tree roots are opportunistic, meaning that they aren't going to look any harder for moisture than they have to, and the mulch, having the ability to hold moisture, may only serve to bring the roots higher. We have quite a few maple trees on our property, so I know exactly what you are dealing with, and will be interested to see what others have to say, but I think that the sparse area under the trees is going to continue to expand as the trees get larger, and that the roots will be a constant hindrance to maintaining any kind of edging, so, if anything, I would simply free form it, i.e. no edging.

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:44 PM   #3
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Large Mulch bed under maple trees questions


Dexter - I sure agree with you. I am sure the roots will just work their way up into the mulch. The problem with this one tree is that so many of the roots are on the surface they are getting damaged and scared - my arborist advises me that this is why the tree on the left doesn't do quite as well as the one on the right (Righty keeps it's roots at a more manageable level). And, frankly, I can't stand the idea of loosing another tree on the property. I can blame the former owner for bad maintenance, but now it's my job to protect the tree roots from being mowed over, weed-wacked, and otherwise abused.

I would really like to go 'free form' but we have two complications 1) wire grass will go anywhere not edged and some nice moist mulch will draw it like a moth to the flame; 2) my four dogs have free run of the yard. Unless I edge it and fence it in the mulch will not remain under the tree very long....

Talked with DH about it tonight and am thinking that I will end up doing a pair of edging rings @ 2-3 inches high, fill the area in between with some pea gravel to get a level base and then dry stack some brick up a two or three courses.
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