What’s The Best Way to Add Edging Around Mature Trees?

Posted by
Kim Riebel on Mar 12, 2015 2:33:15 PM

Add edging to mature treesEdging adds aesthetic value to your landscape, creating crisp and clean lines where turf meets hardscape, pavement or concrete.

Like a trim at the hair salon, edging the landscape keeps the lawn looking neat and healthy. Messy grass that creeps over on to walkways makes a property look unkempt and uncared for.

But beyond looks, there are “cultural” reasons to edge your Chicago commercial property — we’re talking about plant health. Edging creates a barrier for the root zone, and it prevents invasive grasses and weeds from entering landscape beds and lawn areas.

The challenge is when your property includes majestic, mature trees. Their large roots can make digging a perfect edge a real challenge. You want to avoid damaging tree, yet you also want to keep turf out of that vulnerable area and maintain a manicured look.

So, what’s the solution?

The good news is there are strategies for edging around mature trees that preserve the tree’s health and also produce the clean look and landscape health benefits that edging provides. Read on to learn how.

Remove Turf That Surrounds the Tree

When grass grows right up against a tree, it can rob the tree roots of nutrients. The turf will drink up moisture at the ground level before water seeps deep down to reach mature tree roots. To ensure that the tree does not have to compete with grass for water, remove turf around the base of the tree out to the drip line.

Protect the Tree’s Roots

The mature tree’s fine roots, which lie deep beneath the surface, are its life support. If the large roots on the surface — the ones that look like look legs with knobby knees — present a safety hazard for people walking around the tree, these could possibly be removed if recommended by a tree expert.

Proper edging creates a visual barrier and prevenst people from stepping too close to the tree. If the large roots still pose a safety problem after edging, and you are concerned about tree health, consult an arborist about the best course of action.

Create a Shallow Edge

Turf can be removed from the area circling the tree, within the drip line, using a spade — great care should be taken to avoid digging into roots. Grass then can be lifted out of the area to produce a bare ring. Edging carefully around roots and maintaining a shallow edging depth will provide a clean look without damaging the tree. Note: You might need to touch up the edging more often.

Add Mulch to Lock In Moisture and Nutrients

mulch-treeAdd the appropriate amount of mulch to the tree ring, which is a depth of no more than 3 inches. Mulch will help the soil retain nutrients and moisture for the tree, therefore benefiting the roots that lie beneath. With proper edging and mulch, the tree will no longer compete with turf for nutrients.

Always Approach Edging Around Mature Trees with Care

Edging around mature trees requires special attention, and the ramifications of not executing the job properly are great — you could sacrifice a century-old tree in the process. So always consult with a landscape maintenance professional when edging in challenging areas, such as around significant tree roots.

The benefits of edging around mature trees are equally great. If you edge a mature tree properly, you’ll essentially reserve water and nutrients for the tree rather than allowing turf to consume resources — and this is important for sustaining the life and health of the tree.

Let’s talk more about ways to tackle landscape challenges on your Chicago commercial property. Call us any time at 630.497.1000, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Beyond Buzzwords — Commercial Property Trends

Topics: Tree & Shrub Care

Written by Kim Riebel

Kim Riebel

Kim Riebel, Director of Marketing and Sales for Sebert Landscaping, oversees all new business development activities for the company’s lawn maintenance and snow removal services. Having joined Sebert in 2004, Kim helped create a new five-person business development team for the company.