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Old 03-10-2009, 12:12 PM   #1
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Need Help with Retaining Wall (Pictures)


Good morning everyone,
In my new home's yard I have this large tree (pine) that was surrounded by weeds and a large purple flowing plant. This area is higher than the lawn and was (until last night) enclosed with wood planks. They had rotted away and were falling apart. I want to put in a small retaining wall around the tree and select a more ground cover type of plant that works well in 1/2 sunlight (the house faces west and gets plenty of sunlight in the afternoon).

I removed 1/2 of the plants around the tree and found that the dirt was not just dirt but was actually a mixture of rock and broken up cement (don't ask me why). I'm looking for suggestions as to what I could or should do at this point.

I've included 2 pictures to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.
My plan was to remove the rest of the plants/weeds, dig a small trench for the base of the retaining wall and level out the entire area. The problems I see concerns the roots of the tree and the existing dirt.

There are two roots that touch the surface where i would need to dig the trench for the wall. If i cut them in half will it be a death sentence for the tree? The roots are about 1.5 inches in diameter. Also, what should I do with the dirt? There are tons of plant/weed roots, rocks and cement pieces mixed in. Should i Just remove it and use fresh soil or should i attempt to filter out the rocks and cement?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Sean
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Need Help with Retaining Wall (Pictures)-lawn1.jpg   Need Help with Retaining Wall (Pictures)-lawn2.jpg  

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Old 03-10-2009, 12:31 PM   #2
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Need Help with Retaining Wall (Pictures)


You can work around the roots and not cut them. What are you planning to use to make this wall? I would remove the dirt and but in new. Then cover with landscape cloth. Add two inches or more of mulch. The old dirt will not be usable since the concrete will be leaching lime (not the garden type) into the soil.

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Old 03-10-2009, 12:45 PM   #3
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You can work around the roots and not cut them. What are you planning to use to make this wall? I would remove the dirt and but in new. Then cover with landscape cloth. Add two inches or more of mulch. The old dirt will not be usable since the concrete will be leaching lime (not the garden type) into the soil.
Thanks so much for your response.
Would I dig around the roots and cut the stones to fit over the roots? I was planning on buying this type of brick/stone from a local stone yard (not the Lowes ones).
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...lkRetWall.html

I was thinking that I should remove the dirt also.
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:59 PM   #4
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The concrete pieces and rocks are usually there because the tree is planted too deep. I would carefully remove this material until you expose the trunk flare. Soil should not go above this point or you will girdle (strangle) the tree. You may have to put rock back in.
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Old 03-10-2009, 02:38 PM   #5
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yes just cut around the roots and leave them space to still grow. Form a bridge over them with the brick/.stone
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:18 PM   #6
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The concrete pieces and rocks are usually there because the tree is planted too deep. I would carefully remove this material until you expose the trunk flare. Soil should not go above this point or you will girdle (strangle) the tree. You may have to put rock back in.
Thanks so much for your reply.

What if i kept the dirt away from the trunk of the tree and filled around the tree with bark or some other softer material? Is this a good idea?
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:31 PM   #7
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Anything over the flare should not compact around the trunk. The trunk needs to expand and also needs air circulation. You should be able to put in bark chips.
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Last edited by 47_47; 03-10-2009 at 03:35 PM. Reason: Initially said mulch
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:32 PM   #8
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Need Help with Retaining Wall (Pictures)


no. The tree trunk must breath. keep it clean right to the trunk flare. (Where the roots start.)

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