About 3 months ago I put a stone tree ring around my tree. It covered the base of tree with landscaping fabric and then placed plastic drainage pipe over that. I then filled with soil as I wanted to plant some flowers inside ring. Noticed leaves are now turning in and turning a bit yellow.

What should I do to save tree, as it is about 10 years old?

Thanks, George

3 Answers 3


If the health of the tree has suffered following your work, you need to undo that work. Covering tree roots inside the tree drip line can compromise the health of the tree by reducing oxygenation to the roots.

A picture would be nice too to see exactly what you have done.

  • Thank you..do not know how to send pic
    – George
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 13:11

I need to clarify slightly what you've said- you say you put a ring of stones around the base of your gingko tree, then wrapped the base of the trunk in landscape fabric, and covered that with drainage pipe, and then filled in the whole area with soil, presumably to the depth of the stone ring. If I've not got that right, please correct me, but it sounds as if the soil goes right across the area, including the wrapped and piped trunk of the tree. If that is the case, you need to remove the soil,the landscape fabric and the pipe, so that the base of the trunk is exposed to the air as it should be, and so that the soil level is not raised over the root area of the tree.

If you live in an area that's already getting cold, its possible the tree is showing signs of autumning, but its more likely very unhappy with its new situation since you added the soil.


Pull all fabric, soil, mulch and all plants away from that trunk! This is the easiest way to kill a tree or even other woody perennials. Burying the trunk no matter what your drainage mitigation might be will kill that tree.

Roots belong underground. Where the roots and trunk begin and end is a very important place; bark has to be out of the ground and never compromised with mulch, rocks, fabric of any kind. That bit of constant moisture will encourage the decomposers and some other bacteria to start decomposing the bark and right beneath the bark is the life line of the tree; the cambium. The vascular system.

This vascular system is sometimes as thin as a piece of paper. The Phloem and Xylem of the tree one takes water and chemistry upwards to the photosynthetic factories and one takes carbohydrates to be stored in the root system.

'Girdling' a tree is too easy; take a sharp knife or saw and cut into the bark into the vascular system right below and you have killed the tree. It will happen slowly but surely. Burying the bark of the trunk allowing moisture next to the bark to decompose the bark and the cambium just beneath does the same thing as a sharp knife. Allows bacteria to kill the vascular system.

Plant your flowers in pots with potting soil. Set them around the base if you want, make groups of flowering potted plants on your decks or patios.

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