Karen Hand
Karen Hand
  • Hometalker
  • Jacksonville, FL
Asked on May 30, 2013

Landscaping ideas anyone?

Karen HandBarbara SawyerDouglas Hunt
+6

Answered

I have an extremely large tree in my back yard that takes up quite a bit of room in my small yard. The problem is that the tree is so old that the roots are branching off to where they are lying on top of the uneven ground for about 15 feet in all directions. I live in Florida, so there isn't a lot of top soil in the area, and to purchase top soil for the backyard to level it out would cost a small fortune. I was thinking about "roping off" the area in some manner to avoid any injuries by tripping on the roots, either by using stones or landscape timbers and filling it in with flowers or small bushes of some type. Obviously, I would need to purchase a few bags on top soil to fill in the roped off area, but I want to try to stay as economical as possible. To give you an idea of the width of the area, there is about enough room to move a wheel barrel between the tree and the house on one side and the same distance on the other side between the tree and the fence to the property. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
9 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on May 30, 2013

    Karen, burying your tree's roots in topsoil wouldn't be good for your tree or your bank account. I don't know where in Florida you are so it's hard to make plant recommendations, but I would underplant the tree with perennials or small shrubs that can be purchased in small pots, which are both more economical and easier to tuck in around your tree's roots, and ground covers (Asian jasmine, Trachelospermum asiaticum, would probably work wherever in the state you are).

  • Karen Hand
    on May 30, 2013

    Douglas, I live in Jacksonville. Thank you for your suggestions, if you have any other suggestions, I would appreciate it, as we have a very difficult time in keeping any grass in the back yard. I think it is because there is so much shade, or it could be something in the soil itself, which is predominately sand! Would either of your aforementioned recommendations do well in sandy soil? Thank you again.

  • Catherine Smith
    on May 31, 2013

    Karen, check with your local extension agent for suggestions on what would work best in your soil and around your tree. You can find that listed under government in the phone book. :)

  • Douglas Hunt
    on May 31, 2013

    Karen, we've definitely got sand in New Smyrna and Asian jasmine does fine here. Take a drive to Phillips Garden Center on Herschel Street. It's an excellent local garden center (I've driven there from here to buy plants) and I'm sure they would have some more recommendations for you.

  • Karen Hand
    on May 31, 2013

    Thank you Douglas, I really appreciate that. I'll be sure to pop over to Phillips Garden Center.

  • Karen Hand
    on Jun 1, 2013

    Thank you for your reply, Catherine.

  • Karen Hand
    on Jun 7, 2013

    Douglas, I took your advice and went to Phillips Garden Center yesterday for some Asian jasmine. Got some beautiful plants, but couldn't plant them yet as it rained all day yesterday. My question to you is... the gal I spoke with said to put about 3 inches of soil on top of the tree roots so that the jasmine would have something to grab on to. You said, if I remember correctly, not to bury the tree roots in soil. I am hesitant to spend the money for top soil for such a large area, if I don't need to. Can I plant the jasmine between the roots of the tree in the sand? Thanks.

  • Barbara Sawyer
    on Jun 7, 2013

    Another solution is to place under the tree some containers of plants. I have a tree with so many surface roots that it was impossible to plant much there so I used large old metal bowls from yard sales and punctured holes in the bottom for drainage and placed at random on top of the roots.

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  • Karen Hand
    on Jun 7, 2013

    Thanks for your suggestions, Barbara.

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