Tree well question- Maple tree

Asked April 16, 2019, 6:09 PM EDT

I recently built a rock wall around an older Big leaf Maple Tree in my front yard- it has exposed roots that are getting very difficult to mow over. The wall I built is approximately 10 feet in diameter from the trunk of the tree on a slightly slopped yard- The wall is made of staked rock and in front is about 13" in height. while about 7" in back with sides tapered accordingly. My plans were to fill the created well with soil - covering roots and then planting flowers or other plants. there are roots still protruding out into the surrounding yard so roots still getting some exposure. I was told by a friend to check with someone prior to filling bed with soil as it that might kill the tree. I have pictures I can text via my phone if there is a cell number where that would be available- thanks so much, Bill Bartholomew Beaverton

Washington County Oregon landscape design urban forestry tree protection

1 Response

Native to Oregon the big leaf maple is a truly beautiful addition to any landscape. There are many ecological influences that can affect leaf size for the big leaf maple leaves. One major influence is shade or sun; another is north or south exposure; another is growing in a riparian area or upland (moisture); age can also be a factor. Older trees are more likely to have larger leaves than younger trees.

Here are some interesting publications on the lovely big leaf maple tree:

http://owic.oregonstate.edu/bigleaf-maple-acer-macrophyllum

The texture of the soil gives you information about the tree's water needs. If it's sandy, water motors through, taking a lot of nutrients with it. If clay, it's either solid rock when dry or mud when it's wet. Both are hard on plants. You can help any soil by adding organic matter (aged compost), but you don't want to disrupt tree roots--and maples have lots of them near the surface. Just adding compost near--not touching--the trunk will, with the help of water and the trillions of microbes that live near your tree, eventually transport enough nutrients. Hope this helps but it does seem a stretch to cover its roots with a soil while considering the trees root need while balancing the needs of the plants in the well. Perhaps container plants could offer a happy medium?