Q: I have a three-year old red maple tree. I would like to make an eighteen-inch high stone wall five feet out from the trunk, fill this with dirt and plant flowers under the tree. My husband said it would kill the tree. Is this true?
A: It’s not a good idea to pile dirt or mulch up against the base of a tree. Covering the trunk is an excellent way to introduce rot and termites. On this question, your husband is right. Consider digging between the tree’s roots, removing the old soil and replacing it with high-quality planting soil for your flowers. It’s a nice job that both of you could do together.