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Oct 22, 2017 3:25 PM CST
Name: Kateri
Philadelphia, PA (Zone 7a)
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I have this cherry tree on my front sidewalk with some very shallow roots at the surface. How much soil can I put over the roots, and is there some type of flowering plant I can grow over the roots that will not damage the tree?

I'd like some hardy, low maintenance perennial that will bloom continuously through the summer, in Philadelphia, where it tends to be very hot in the summer.

The street gets partial sun and the soil is very shallow. I thought about some black eyed Susans that I have in another area, because they seen to be pretty Hardy and bloom continuously, but I'm not sure if it is safe to plant them in top if the tree roots.

Any help would be very much appreciated! Thank you!
Oct 22, 2017 4:01 PM CST
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
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If you put any soil on top of the root flare (base of the tree), you will encourage the tree to develop roots close to the surface that can eventually damage the sidewalk and be harmful to the tree. You might want to consider using potted plants instead. Not only will you avoid damaging the tree, but you will be able to change the display with what is in bloom, etc.
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Oct 22, 2017 4:45 PM CST
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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I think Rick gave you good advice. If you add to the soil level you will probably cause the tree to have rot at the base. If you try to make planting holes without adding soil, you will damage the already crowded roots of the tree.
Oct 26, 2017 8:46 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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I third that.
Get some pots to set inside the wooden box. Even cheap nursery pots, since the wood will hide them. An ornamental sweet potato would be very happy and overflow the pot. Either gold, or maroon sweet potatos with contrasting or complimentary flower plants. As you water the pots, you'll help the tree, too. Many possibilties for pretty flowers or foliage there.
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Oct 26, 2017 10:45 AM CST
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Yes, large pots are your answer, whatever will fit in the box. Just don't have them leaning too close to the tree, keep them out towards the corners of the box. They will look beautiful, and the tree will benefit too.

Check from time to time though, because the tree will try to send roots up into the rich, moist soil inside your pots. So just lift the pots occasionally to discourage that from happening.

Flowers you planted amongst or on top of tree roots would have struggled, and probably failed, anyway. The tree would suck away all the water and nutrients from them.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Oct 26, 2017 11:59 AM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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I agree I agree with everyone else - up to a point. Please do not add any soil on top of the tree roots. As beautiful as the wood frame is (and it really is gorgeous!!), even the bulk of the wood will have a negative effect on the roots of the tree. Maybe use the wood frame elsewhere in the garden.

Here is where I differ. Even putting potted plants over the tree roots will cause the roots to be oxygen-starved. Maybe (and I hate to have you make a new framework...) build another wooden frame that extends [i]outside]/i] the root space, just onto the sidewalk by a few inches (the width of the pots) and place potted plants into the new framework. Or, do something similar but have it surrounded by a short, decorative fence of some type?

Your tree will thank you. Thumbs up
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