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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

I believe , if you check out 1:23, he says that he  removed 3 inches of soil from the grass line. It didn't look like he was puting more than that back.


Posted 2012-04-05T18:27:37+0000  by meannie28
For a tree with surface roots, rough up the "available" soil, add a light layer of compost, and sprinkle flower seeds. This will allow you to have the color you want and the flowers will create their own root system among the roots. :)
Posted 2012-04-11T20:59:40+0000  by vbailey913

As a certified Arborist,  I was shocked to see what was being recommended as a project.  However, I was happy to see that many people are aware of the detrimental effect by reading the many posts criticizing the idea.


Carefully removing turf and weeds forming as large a ring as possible is a good idea.  Incorporating 2-3" of mulch or compost will protect the tree from mowers and weed wackers, look good aesthetically, help the tree (soil) retain moisture and minimize weed growth.  Mulch or any materials should never be in contact with the trunk!



Posted 2012-04-12T13:42:14+0000  by Arbor31

I am going to school for plant healthcare. This is just another example of how much Home Depot doesn't know about plants and trees. You will, I repeat will kill your tree by doing this. Is this why home depot wouldn't hire me to work in their L&G?

Posted 2012-04-17T16:42:56+0000  by KnowsYourPlants

No matter what you fill it with, it will cause the roots to grow up and girdle the trunk and die. Mulch becomes soil! I'm sorry but this makes me extremely angry.

Posted 2012-04-17T16:45:30+0000  by KnowsYourPlants

I think trees and plants breath through pore on leaves and not roots.

Roots show up near ground level actually is a result of insufficient water underground . Root come up looking for surface water.

Posted 2012-04-17T17:43:22+0000  by kdpukp

Roots did NOT come up to the surface just to get more water!  The topsoil is the first layer to lose the water through trickle-down or evaporation, so why would you even say that the surface roots are there for the water?  I have a huge yard with four large trees that takes three people linked together just to surround the tree.  The yard has much more space than the trees need to spread it's roots out - and yet I have multiple surface roots, anyway.  It's no inadequate space that's the problem.  You're not thinking at all.


Take for example... massive floodings that takes days for it to recede.  What dies first?  All sorts of flora.  Why?  Their roots SUFFOCATED.  They don't have gills to breathe underwater.  It's the same idea with onions - you plant one in a cup of water, and it grows only for a bit, then dies from suffocation because every single root was in the water all the way to the hilt.  We had a massive flood last June that actually took out our water plant for a month.  The water table alone hovered a few inches below the topsoil for about two weeks.  Yeah, multiple trees died - especially the ones who aren't water lovers... like the weeping willows. 


You're also forgetting one other thing - every flora in the world has a need for oxygen.  Yes, the leaves do it, but they need oxygen elsewhere also.  Remember in one of the old James Bond movie... a woman had her body sprayed with gold paint for some scene and died from suffocation?  Her mouth and nose were breathing, all right, it's her skin that killed her.  Skin does breathe, and so do roots.

Posted 2012-04-17T18:35:27+0000  by caramelswoman1

i  have a builtiful pine tree  it 50 ft high i dont want cut down  the re 3 roots on ga ump of the root is on top ground itinking of having that part of root she=aved of top but i worried it may kill it or make it to fall also could tre:smileyhappy:e ring protect it can you help me

Posted 2012-04-18T12:58:56+0000  by crazyjoan
Umm.. Obviously not as well trained as one thought.. sorry guy.. but you may need to request that you be trained over again...
Posted 2012-05-01T21:48:26+0000  by hrmrhiannon01
We put a ring like this around one of our trees about 8 years ago. We also planted hostas and asiatic lillies around the tree. All are healthy and growing great. The only thing we have to do each year, is add fresh mulch.
Posted 2012-05-13T04:10:00+0000  by yan
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