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Raised Bed Under Plum Tree?



I have a mature plum tree, underwhich I'd like to plant some winter/spring bulbs and perhaps have a few pots on the surface during the summer. My initial thought would be to build a small raised bed surrounding the trunk with say some gravel or wood chippings on top, but am cautious about doing this as don't want to damage the tree roots / trunk (that also need to breath?)


Also, I'll be installing some rasied veg beds nearby. With roots in mind, what would be a safe distance from the plum tree to do this?


Any advice appreciated.



  • chickychicky Posts: 10,400

    I think that in general they say the roots of a tree extend underground the same area as the canopy overground - so you would need to go further than that for any beds that need digging deeply.

    on your bed round the tree, you will need to build a collar (with a good couple of inches gap between it and the trunk)  round the trunk to stop it being submerged by soil - it won't like it if its trunk gets buried.  Can you plant straight into the existing ground if it is just bulbs?

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,109



    I have daffodils around a greengage tree. One greengage tree fell over a few years ago in the gales, it's lying on the ground but, amazingly didn't die. Last year I made a bed around it, I added a lot of compost and rotted manure. One end is shade where the branches are and the other end is sunny. It was quite possible to plant between the roots, there weren't many in the way. The tree seems to like the soil enrichment because it send out new shoots, and had a crop of greengages.

    This is it in June, the anchusa went a bit mad, twice as tall as it said on the label!

    Funny, the pic has gone on top!

    About raised beds for veg. If they are raised then you won't be digging and disturbing the roots. The compost and earth will be on top. The more important thing is that they have enough sun and the tree doesn't cast too must shade over the beds.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • That's great, thanks guys, much appreciated.

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