Should I Edge Around My Evergreens?

Evergreen Bough Should I Edge Around My Evergreens?

Photo Courtesy of: dailyinvention

Question:  I like a deep edge around my garden beds and trees. I think the mulch looks better, and the garden neater when I do this every spring. A neighbor told me I shouldn’t be edging around my evergreen trees because I’ll damage them.  Should I stop?

Edging deep trenches around garden beds and trees is particularly popular in the landscaping business because it makes a home or business park look well cared for and a little more formal.  Trench edging is a great way to reduce the likelihood that lawn space will creep into the garden, and it does provide instant “pop” around most plant groupings, but it should be skipped around evergreen trees and shrubs.

Evergreen plants have a root structure that is more laterally strong, running parallel with the soil line.  Edging around a deciduous plant may trim up a few feeder shoots running at the soil line, but the bulk of the roots are deep below the surface, branching from more a deep tap root system.  For deciduous trees, the depth and appearance of roots more closely resembles the inverse of the trunk and branching growth above the ground.  Evergreens have roots that spread much more shallowly across the ground underneath the soil line. It is very easy to cut too much root away from these plants, or to cut the roots in a way that opens the plant up to disease and pests during the moist and cool weeks of early spring.  With too much root damage the tree cannot support it’s own weight, and will topple over.

I would advise you to skip edging around your evergreens alone, and start a program of only weeding and mulching.  In many cases, depending on the evergreen, the acidic nature of any fallen needles over time should assist you in reducing the weed population, and help you keep thing neat and tidy.

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