Tree Surrounds — Why Avoid Them And What To Do Instead
Posted on: 23 June 2021
A tree adds charm, texture, and structure to any landscape. But the tree itself can cause some logistical challenges when landscaping around it. Many people opt for tree surrounds — a tightly planted ring of color or greenery around the base of the tree — to make it more attractive. But should you use a tree surround? And if not, what alternatives may be better choices? Here's what you need to know.
What Are Some Drawbacks of Tree Surrounds?
While a tree surround may make the immediate area more attractive right away, it can do long-term damage. How? Many surrounds are densely planted areas that cover the ground and fill it with new plant roots. The tree's roots, though, need the light, water, and space that the planted bed may now take up. This competition is often bad for the bed and bad for the tree roots.
In addition, the planting or maintenance of the surround can damage the tree's roots or trunk. If you dig into the ground to plant flowers or shrubs or to install a border or hardscaping, you can easily damage tree roots. The plants themselves may not be compatible with the tree's needs. And the additional soil needed for extra plants can cause excessive moisture, rot, or decay at the tree's base.
What Can You Do Instead of a Tree Surround?
Fortunately, a surround isn't the only choice to embellish the tree's base. A layer of mulch in the area is a good choice as it covers the ground and makes it more appealing without digging into the ground or trapping excess moisture the way soil does. You can also choose to extend the planted area around the tree base so as to effectively build the surround where it won't impact the roots.
Some homeowners look at this as an opportunity to make the tree more useful rather than decorative by using certain above-ground hardscape elements. It could be an ideal base for a small reading nook or parfait table set on pavers or bricks, for instance. These provide an interesting focal point but don't compete with the tree itself for water, light, or room to grow.
Where Should You Begin?
Want to know more about how tree surrounds might affect your particular tree and landscape? Would you like customized guidance about alternatives to traditional tree decorating? Get started today by meeting with an experienced landscape design professional in your area. Together, you can find the right solutions to keep your trees healthy and your yard beautiful.Share