Are wells good to have around old oak trees?

At this old house there are wells made of rock around the old oak trees. Seems to me that they are not looking healthy & thinking of filling the wells in with dirt. Any comments, suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
  9 answers
  • The wells have no bearing at all with the condition of the trees. Perhaps the trees need some attention with pruning and such. If the wells are being used for what ever reason, you must be careful if the tree person suggests spraying them for issues of chemicals that could bleed down the side of the well. Lastly, Although I am not familiar with PA laws, in NJ any well that has been dug and is going to become decommissioned must be tested, Located via GPS, and in the case of wells that use a steel sleeve, it must be pulled out and cement poured into the well to seal it off. No soils of any kind can be used. So before you decide to close off the well, be sure to get the state requirements and follow them carefully and have it professionally abandoned. If not, besides the fines, if you ever decide to sell the property, you could be stuck having to drill out the well and start all over again.

  • I'm not sure but I think Kim is asking about tree wells (a retaining wall to prevent soil from touching the bark of the tree) Is this correct Kim?

  • Opps I stand corrected! lol So to answer that, you cannot fill these in without harming the trees. Perhaps they were not made large enough which may have effected the tree in some way. I would suggest that a tree person come in to evaluate the size of the tree wells to determine if they are large enough. Perhaps the tree has out grown them.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 23, 2012
    Kim, Woodbridge is correct, you are likely to harm your trees by filling in those wells, if they have any depth to them at all. You will basically be changing the planting depth of the tree, which is not good.

  • Contact a local licensed Arborist for a consult who can do a site visit and best advise you on how to care for the trees. There may be a charge for this visit but the advise will be correct.

  • Kim Kim on Oct 23, 2012
    Thanks, all, great input! These wells (yes, Deck & Patio is accurate) are small & large rocks around the trees that initially were wells but over the years have fallen in close to the trees & have filled in with debris where the dirt & such have pretty much in that area around the tree become level with the ground. With digging out the rock the well (depth) around the trees may be about 5". I'd rather just level it to ground level with some soil there & eliminate the eye sore rather than reconstruct a well or throw the rocks back in there as it has been for years........

  • No don't fill them with soil! You don't want to put the dirt up on the bark of the trees. It can cause the bark to rot and then insects can get into the trees and destroy them!!

  • Kim Kim on Oct 23, 2012
    Thanks, everyone!

  • Pam Shoesmith Probasco Pam Shoesmith Probasco on Nov 11, 2012
    Please don't add dirt on top of the roots! I lost 3 oak trees that were right next to the lane back to my house. There was a big dip in the lane which I wanted to even out and the contractor added about 6' of dirt/gravel to the lowest spot. So one side of the trees had dirt against it and the other side didn't. The trees were dead in two years. Now I'm going to have a chainsaw artist make lemonade out of lemons. But it breaks my heart to loose those trees!