My sweetheart has a small Japanese Maple tree which has been growing for about 3 seasons in Pittsburgh, PA. It gets partial sun and does very well. I try to dress it up by planting Impatiens around the perimeter of the drip line but they never do well. I have always found Impatiens to do well in any condition except here. I notice when I water this area that the soil has debris in it. My question is, will I hurt the tree by removing the top inch or two of soil and replacing it with something more nutritious, or will that be futile? The little tree does so well I would be in big trouble if it died because on me, but I want to grow flowers underneath.
Soil Around a Tree
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Yes, you can replace that soil, but be careful. I wouldn't get too close to the trunk and I wouldn't use a shovel until I could see where and how the roots are spread.
I highly recommend you find a way to enjoy the tree, as is. Removing an inch or two of soil will not help in growing other plants because their roots will go much deeper than that. Plus disturbing a young tree's roots is asking for trouble.