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Tree Ring Project


This spring, consider putting a tree ring in at your home. When you are installing a tree ring there are a few steps to take along the way to ensure that your tree ring looks perfect.  This will be a helpful guide to doing it yourself.

List of materials

  1.       Shovel                                                
  2.       Tamper
  3.       Lime stone screening
  4.       Bricks
  5.       Top soil
  6.       String and marking paint
  7.       Shade tolerant plants/ Mulch


You can download the PDF version of this project here.  Project Guide



Prep work


The first step in achieving a proper tree ring is to measure the distance you want to fill in around your tree.  You can do this by taking a loose piece of string and tying it around the bottom portion of the trunk.  You will want to go 3-6 ft away from the tree.  Make sure the string is loose so you can circle the tree with your marking paint in order to achieve a perfect circle.


After you have your area marked off, you will need your shovel to start removing either dirt or grass.  When you go to line the bricks up make sure you check the distance between the back of the block and the tree for proper distance before you start digging.  You will want to dig 3-4in down into the ground. Once you get your outer perimeter dug out make sure to keep the edges of the grass line nice and straight for a better look!!


Before you put your blocks into the area you dug out, you will need to apply some leveling sand to help keep the bricks flat.  Lime stone screening will work just as well since it’s for leveling purposes.  You will want to pour about half an inch of sand down and tamper it down.  The tamper will help give the area the flatness it needs.


Laying the blocks


When you’re ready to start the foundation you may need a rubber mallet to help put the final bricks in place.  Working from left to right is the easiest way to install these.  Once you get the first row down, take a level and lay it across the base level of bricks to ensure they are level.  You may have to re-tamp the area until its level.

When you go to start stacking your next couple layers make sure to stagger the bricks to give it more detail to blocks.  Try to avoid having all the seams line up vertical. The back of the stones will keep them in align and from falling off the back end.



Plant and Fill


Once you have all your blocks in place it’s time to fill the big empty space around your tree.  Mixing a combination of top soil and premium garden soils is the best way to go if you want to plant flowers under the tree.  Depending on how much sun the bottom of the tree gets will determine what types of plants you can use.  If you just want to fill it in and cover it with mulch that works as well.  Just fill the inside with topsoil and cover with at least 2in of your favorite mulch!!



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Posted 2012-02-21T21:41:48+0000  by FlyingHDsod FlyingHDsod

about how much will it cost and can you order what i need and have delivered?

Posted 2012-03-09T16:36:03+0000  by elliottlaura

Um, isn't that a bad thing to change the soil level on top of tree roots?  The tree spent its life getting its roots at just the right level to capture nutrients and water and changing that could kill the tree. 

Posted 2012-03-09T16:38:23+0000  by girliebirder

Changing the soil grade around trees is a great way to kill it.  Trees grow surface roots for their ability to "breathe". Their roots need oxygen.  By adding soil around a tree, as little as 6 inches, they tree can be negatively affected, as their roots are "suffocating" from the lack of oxygen.  I've seen many trees die in my profession (certified arborist) from this practice.  Please do not kill your trees.  Research from the University of Florida proves this:

Posted 2012-03-09T16:50:49+0000  by JenWP

Good question!  I hope someone who knows the answer will respond.

Posted 2012-03-09T16:52:36+0000  by Reston_Resident

Yes, it does kill the tree.

Posted 2012-03-09T16:55:30+0000  by JenWP



Thanks for the info.!  I have just a tiny piece of ground in front of my townhouse, with a tree in it that has over time grown roots so close to the surface that I can no longer plant flowers there.  I thought about putting a planter or pots on metal stands a few inches high there to keep the tree roots from growing into the pots, which is what happened last year.  I want some color in front of my house, but am I causing the tree roots to come up because of the water that drips out of the pots?  I think the tree is some kind of maple, but am not sure.



Posted 2012-03-09T16:57:51+0000  by Reston_Resident

Greetings everyone and Welcome to the How-To-Community!!!

Elliottlaura- depending on how big your area is will depend on how many bricks you will need.  Also depending on how many rows up you want to stack.  Check with your local Home Depot to see how much these blocks are going for.  This isn’t a back breaking price kind of project in anyway and its very simple to do.  The Home Depot does do a delivery service as well.  The best thing is to get everything you need at once and have them do it that way.


To everyone else-  You don’t always have to use soil around your tree.  After you build your wall you can fill it in with mulch instead.  If you have a well established tree that has been there for 20+ years this shouldn’t be too big of a deal.  The younger the tree the more of a risk you are going to take by covering it up with the soil.  You can always find some nice colorful mulch to spruce things up.

Posted 2012-03-09T17:04:04+0000  by FlyingHDsod

Not only is it bad for the tree to have additional dirt upon its established roots planting things within the drip line of the trees growth means the tree with take any moisture in the soil and nt allow enough for the new plants.


Posted 2012-03-09T17:22:58+0000  by Twigwoman

My trees are very mature, I've had my rings around them for years with flowers planted in them.  The tree is healthy and the flowers look great.  This is a simple diy project that adds a lot of character to the yard.  If your trees aren't established, this project might be a gamble.  If you have a nice establish tree with deep roots, you'll be just fine. 

Posted 2012-03-09T17:43:56+0000  by TeresaHowell

Tell that to my 20 year old dogwood tree that I killed last year by doing a similar project around this beautiful tree.  I have since replaced the dogwood with a crepe myrtle and have kept the ring bed and wall, but the new tree will adapt to the soil line.

Posted 2012-03-09T17:58:05+0000  by mal21401
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