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Rototiller + Tree =???????

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:01 pm
by jstr12
I'm planning on extending but in my sub-urban home the best spot soil wise is next to a tree. How close up to the trunk can I rototill? It looks extremely healthy and with and amateur's guess over 30 years old. It's a maple tree if that helps. (At the moment I'm not sure how deep the rototiller gos)

jstr :D

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:59 pm
by opabinia51
Contrary to common belief Rotatillers are actually very detrimental to soil systems, especially for plants. Anyway, with an old maple, the roots will be very well established and will extgend to below the outmost extension of the leaves known as the drip line.

If you wish to plant under the drip line, you best bet is to try to stir up the soil a bit with a shovel but, even better would be to apply a sheet compost with a top layer of composted manure or just plain top soil. This way, you will not disturb the roots of the maple and the new tree can have a healthy soil to grow in and the new soil will also feed the maple.

However,

Given that you have such a well established tree; I picture it being quite large and envision your new tree succombing to blight of some sort.

Though, all you can do is try.

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:08 pm
by Newt
I think Jstr wants to plant a garden. I would suggest not to add more then 2" of soil, compost or mulch on top of those tree roots.

Newt

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:35 pm
by opabinia51
Actually, I have found that the more compost that you add to an area, the better results you have. The owner of our local organic nursery adds 6 inches of mulched up maple leaves to her entire grounds every year.

I usually add several layers of sheet mulch each several inches thick that gets compacted down as the layers build up but is at least 6 inches tall when all is said and done. As the sheet compost breaks down the layer decreases in height. Plants seem to grow really well on top while the composting process is occurring.

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:35 pm
by jstr12
Newt answered my question on another forum but I just foun out that the same spot has been rototilled before. Either way I found somone who will let me use some of his yard for my garden and it has way better sun anyway. Thanks You! (You to Newt, I think I forgot to say it on the other forum)

jstr :D

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:03 pm
by opabinia51
Good luck JSTR!