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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:14 pm
Location: Zone 5

Planting In A Raised Bed

Good morning, everyone!

Within the next few weeks, I will be pulling out several large evergreen shrubs and replacing them with a Japanese maple (either Red Dragon or Weeping Viridis.) It will be planted at the corner of my house and I would like to create a slightly raised bed to plant it in. The bed will be raised no more than 12-18" and probably will be roughly 3-4' in diameter.

I'm wondering if the tree would be able to thrive in a raised bed. The bed's border would be stone and there would be no bottom preventing the roots from growing down.

This will be my first time planting a tree and I know that Japanese maples are on the delicate side. I want to make certain I won't be messing things up right from the start.

Thank you!

Greener Thumb
Posts: 955
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:29 pm
Location: Central PA

in basic theory there's no problem with the idea. couple of thoughts:

3-4 ft diameter is pretty small - a lot of tree-types insist the "bed" should go to the drip line - which for a non-weeping type is (eventually) likely more in the 20 ft diameter size. off-hand, the 3-4 ft bed is quite possibly inadequate.

the biggest no-no is burying / putting the trunk below it's original soil line. that invites the bugs/ insects to invade the buried trunk below the (new) soil line.

the catch here is with a 12-18" deep new raised bed, the tree is not going to have a lot of support (initially) so you may need to stake / support it quite liberally.

the next part of that catch is a fair amount of the root ball will be in the soil of the raised bed - meaning if the bed is allowed to dry out to a crisp, you'll lose a lot of the fine surface feeder roots and that threatens the tree health / survival.

nothing un-doable - but be aware it will take some extra attention & TLC for 4-5 years until well established.

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