Before you build such a bed, check with tree people (arborists) and/or your county extension agent. Trees do not fare well when soil is piled up around the trunk higher than the natural root level, and often die within a few years. If it is a tree you value, you may well lose it. As for holding the rocks together, a bag of Quickcrete from the hardware store should work well. (07/01/2005)
Simply put, you will kill the tree if you build a raised flower bed around it.
To build a rock garden just think carefully about which rocks will fit best together and not be inclined to move. The natural shape of the rocks will determine this. Dependent upon rainfall and the mix of the soil you use, you may have to top up the soil after a while. There is an initial settling effect where things "fall" into place!! Don't worry, the rocks won't fall down unless you've placed them teeter totter style!
Rock gardens are beautifully interesting and always fun to start. Maybe check the library for a book on the subject and perhaps a book about flowers that thrive in shade? (If you are planning BIG rocks!)
Rock on! (07/01/2005)
Rather then placing the soil against the tree directly, form a "ring" of rocks around the tree with space to allow the tree to breathe and room to grow. Then you could make an exterior wall of rocks and fill-in with your soil mixture. Happy planting! (07/31/2005)
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