Should I have added all this dirt under my maple tree in order to plant? #631028 - Ask Extension

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Should I have added all this dirt under my maple tree in order to plant? #631028

Asked May 04, 2020, 1:43 PM EDT

I have a maple tree, that was always weedy and unsightly underneath the canopy. I planted bulbs but the soil was too shallow for anything to grow successfully. Two years ago we had 1 1/2 yards of dirt added below the tree, made into mounds and I planted hostas and star ground cover. The hostas get choked out every year by the ground cover, and in doing some research, I read that maple trees do not like to have deep dirt over their roots, that it will actually stress the tree out. I am including pictures- would you advise removing the dirt that we have brought in, and if so what could we plant under the tree to minimize the unsightly weeds that take over?

Lane County Oregon

Expert Response

Hi: We would usually not recommend raising the grade around established trees like this as it can be detrimental to root function. But, you did so 2 years ago and the tree still seems healthy, partly because i think only part of the root system was affected. Given that, at this point, I would hesitate to modify the conditions around the tree yet again. The other issue you had was the vigor of the groundcover and I suppose I would suggest removing that as best you can from around the Hostas, by hand if possible. I'm not entirely sure what yo mean by unsightly weeds, from the photo it looks like Blue Star Creeper and Hosta and not much else. If you do remove the Creeper, I guess some bark muck or something like that in the bare spaces to hold the Creeper (temporarily) at bay. Feel free to write with questions.
Neil Bell Replied May 04, 2020, 8:19 PM EDT

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