How to Build a Tree Well?

How to Build a Tree Well

No plant enthusiasts would like to plant trees to see them die prematurely! But guess what? Lowered or raised soil levels can kill the trees way before their lifespan. And creating a tree well is the cheapest option to save them. But how to build a tree well? 

Creating a ring or edge with soil, rocks, and bricks is the easiest method to construct a tree well. And to make the process a snap, sit tight and go through this detailed “how-to” guide!

What Is A Tree Well?

A tree well is a ring or construction made of a combination of stones, rocks, or bricks around a tree. This structure saves the trees from the effects of raised or lowered soil level of a site. Also, a well helps trees to access and drain water for their growth.

How to Build a Tree Well

Sometimes, it is not possible transferring a plant from one place to another, especially if it has grown. That is when a tree well should be built to prevent the tree from dying prematurely due to soil level impediments or other issues!

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build a Tree Well:

Building a tree well does not require many tools. But it does require a few considerations and techniques described in the steps below –

How to Build a Tree Well?

Step 1:  Evaluate the Tree

Study the types of trees in your garden so that you can understand whether they require tree wells or not. If the tree does not have a long lifespan, is fast growing, and is too damaged to grow well is not worth the effort. But for a healthy specimen, a tree well is a “must.” 

Step 2: Build Dry Well Vent

For a dry well, leaving a gap of 5 meters from the trunk, place ornamental stones and bricks around the tree in a circular shape. Do not add cement in between the bricks to let the water and air flow freely.

At the base of the well, bury a radius of perforated pipes that can reach the top of the ground. 

Use a grate made of bamboo, metal, or wood to cover the well. It helps to keep the bricks in place. Also, children and animals will not fall into the well due to the cover. 

Step 3: Add Breathing Layer

On top of the existing base, place coarse gravel followed by the landscaper’s matting. While laying the gravel, leave a rocky and bare area around the trunk in order that the gravel layer can have a chimney shape.

It is a breathing layer for better air circulation for the tree. 

Step 4: Remove Soils

Start removing soil, dirt, and debris from around the edges of the stone ring. While doing so, do not go deeper than 12 inches from the ground. Otherwise, you can damage the absorptive roots, which help the trees to access minerals. 

Removal of soil is necessary, which creates a space to hold rainwater and essential supplements in the well. 

Is It Possible to Increase and Decrease Tree Well Grade?

Indeed, it is possible to increase or add a layer to the existing base of the tree well. And you can also remove the layers to decrease the grade

Filling the edging of the well with soil, stones, and rocks can increase the grade. However, if the layer is higher than a couple of inches from the root, it can block gas exchange between the roots.

And the blockage leads to root death. So, decreasing the grade is a must in that case.

To lower the grade, cut the roots that are a few meters away from the trunk with a spade and saw. And remove the soil with your hands without damaging the roots. 

What to Consider While Building a Tree Well?

To construct a tree well that can save the trees from root rot and natural calamities, you must ensure these factors given below –

How to Build a Tree Well?

1. Proper Air Circulation

While creating the edge of the well, the stones should be exactly over the roots of the tree. Otherwise, the roots will not get proper air to help the tree grow. 

The grate or cover of the well should not touch the trunk of the tree. It is the best practice to confirm as much air circulation as needed. 

2. Drainage System 

Over-flooding the roots and trunk with water can shorten the lifespan of the tree. So, a proper drainage system in the well is a must to get rid of the excess water. Also, it aids in fertilizing and watering.

The layer of rocks of the well should not be taller than 2 feet. Otherwise, an extensive drainage system is needed. To avoid the extra work, make sure to dig deeper around the well ring to drain the water. 

3. Size of the Well

A tree well should not be higher than 3 feet. Keeping the well within that height prevents root and trunk rot. 

A deeper well requires additional expense and effort to maintain it. So, to save a few bucks and easily supply plant nutrients, build the well within 2 to 3 feet. 

4. Type of the Trees

Not every tree requires a tree well. If you have planted a new tree, removing soil around its trunk can damage the newly grown roots. 

It is better to let the plant grow and improve its root strength for a few months or so. Then, it is safer to construct well around it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Are Tree Wells and Tree Berms the Same?

No, they are not the same, yet kind of similar. While constructing a berm requires adding soil or mulch, a tree well requires soil, stones, mats, pipes, and so on.

Can A Tree Well Suffocate the Trees?

If the well does not leave a gap for air to circulate, it can suffocate the tree. In order to prevent it, avoid filling too much soil and rock over the roots.

Do You Need a Professional to Build a Tree Well?

If you are sure not to damage the roots of the tree while constructing the well, a professional is not needed. Otherwise, you must contact one.


Building a tree well is simple yet complicated, depending on a few factors. So, you are not the only one to wonder how to build a tree well. It takes nothing but the placement of soil and rocks in the right shape and angle around the tree. 

I highly suggest contacting a grader if you are not confident in handling the tree roots. They will remove the soil without hurting the roots of the well.

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

Recent Posts