This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



September 27, 2013

Trimming artificial grass around the base of a tree

Like so many things here at The Tropical Paradise, my "grass" is an illusion. It's plastic. And like any illusion, it doesn't take much to spoil it. And one of the places where the illusion was failing was at the base of my olive tree.

I've had artificial turf here for seven years, and it's the best thing I've ever done. It always looks great, it allows water (and uh, other stuff from my dog) to percolate into it, and it never needs maintenance, other than the occasional blowing off of leaves. And it actually looks better, and more realistic, with neglect.

Olive trees grow very slowly, but they do grow. By the way, please don't get me started about allergies - olive trees are innocent compared to the number one allergen here in the valley, that nasty weed that so many people have in their yards, Bermuda grass. Oughtta be a law against that! But I digress.

In the time since the artificial turf was laid out, the "grass" had started to grow up the base of the tree, and was flipping over a bit, showing its black rubber base. Not a good look! So I got my little pruning saw out and trimmed it. I had this professionally installed in 2006, and didn't watch how they did it, but the edges are held down with some big, long, spikes. I set those aside and after the grass was trimmed, I pounded them back into the edges. And sure enough, they disappear!

When you visit really nice gardens that have trees in lawns, you always see some space between the trunk of the tree and the grass. It's just good practice. And with my artificial turf, I wanted to create the same look.

I have two olive trees, one in front and one in back. And the sculptural quality of their bases, especially with age as the roots "buttress", I consider very beautiful. It reminds me of images of Jesus praying under them in the Garden of Gethsemane. Olive trees grow for thousands of years, and get very large. If I come back here in 3013, the base of this tree will have taken up the entire yard, and will be tipping over the walls and the house. In the meantime, while I am here, I will care for it.
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