Soil volcano around tree


Hi, I just came to know that putting soil around ur tree is not good. Now, what should I do to fix it. I can see small roots in the soil. Should I contact the city if yes, then what should I say or explain. Just to let u know that my tree is healthy.


Hello – From your photo it looks like you have created a raised bed around your tree creating a situation not unlike when a tree is planted too deeply. It’s good that you’ve discovered that this is not a good practice. As your tree looks to be fairly young and as you’ve noted healthy, correcting this issue now should prevent longer term issues.

You should remove the extra soil. Trees should always be planted such that the ‘flare’ of the tree, the tapered base of the tree where the trunk becomes slightly wider, is at ground level. Hopefully, removing the soil will expose the flare. Keeping soil against the trunk makes this area continually moist which can lead to trunk decay.

Also, as the tree is stressed by having it’s roots buried too deeply, it can create girdling roots. A girdling root is a root that grows in a circular pattern around the trunk at or below the soil line which will gradually strangle the tree by slowing cutting off the water and food transport in the tree. Once you’ve removed the extra soil, check for any exposed roots. Exposed roots growing outward are not a problem. Roots circling the tree are problematic. Your tree looks fairly young in the photo so the extra soil may not have been in place long enough for these issues to develop.

You asked about contacting the city which suggests to me that this is a city-owned tree. If you see evidence of girdling roots you may want to contact the city to let them know of a potential problem. If possible, girdling roots should be removed. You can remove small, girdling roots that have begun to form yourself if the job can be done without damaging the trunk. It is best to work with a professional arbourist if large girdling roots (over 2 inches in diameter) require removal.

You may wish to add some mulch in a ring around your tree, keeping the mulch well away from the trunk of the tree. The mulch will help with moisture retention and weed control in the area under the tree.

If you’d like to read more about girdling roots, I’ve included a link below to a good article from the University of Maryland. I’m sure you’ll be able to resolve this issue successfully.

U. of Maryland: Girdling Roots