Posted on: 3 March 2017Share
A pretty tree or two in the landscape can add visual interest as well as shade to an otherwise plain yard. Yet, there are some concerns even with smaller ornamental trees. The roots and shade provided often conspire to create an area of knobby visible roots and thin grass. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to overcome these relatively minor issues.
Ring in your tree
The greatest concentration of roots will be in the radius directly surrounding the trunk. This is also the area of greatest shade. Instead of fighting to keep grass alive in this area, consider installing a tree-ringing garden bed inside. Keep in mind that an overly small bed can look odd in the lawn, so size it to fit your tree. A bed that is the size of about half the diameter of the tree canopy, or larger, looks good in most cases. Use rubber, vinyl, or stone edging to create a clean line between this bed and the surrounding lawn.
Choose the right groundcover
Once the bed is edged in and the old turf is removed, you can add a couple of inches of fresh topsoil to cover any roots that are sitting above the surface. The next step is to decide upon a groundcover. If you don't want to mess with plants, a layer of landscape fabric topped by wood chip mulch is an attractive option. Most annual flowers also work well, just opt for those that can grow in shade like begonias or impatiens. Groundcovers, like creeping thyme, are also attractive. Just make sure the plant can grow in shade and that it isn't a water hog that will rob moisture from the tree.
With the bed in place, the next task is to make sure that tree roots don't rise to the surface and ruin the bed's appearance. The simplest way to do this is with smart water management. During periods with minimal rain, water the tree deeply every two weeks. This deep watering forces the tree to send the roots down to seek out water, instead of depending on frequent light irrigation that only penetrates the top inch or two of soil. Young trees, in particular, benefit from this type of watering regimen because it insures they are well rooted and stable, which helps them withstand wind and bad weather later on.
For more help, talk to a landscaper like Ironwood Earthcare in your area.