We all know that artificial grass is becoming more and more popular nowadays. After all, good quality artificial grass can look nearly identical to real grass!
The tricky part is incorporating it into your yard. And this often involves fitting artificial grass around trees and shrubs in your garden.
But is this a good idea? And is there anything you should watch out for?
In this article, our team of experts will tell you everything you need to know about laying artificial grass around trees, bushes and plants.
In This Article:
Can You Put Artificial Grass Around Trees?
The answer is yes: You CAN put artificial grass around trees. In fact, in many cases it performs even better than real grass. Here’s why:
Certain trees like oak chemicals called tannins, which enter the soil when leaves and branches fall. The presence of tannins can be toxic to your real grass. But this is not a problem when it comes to artificial grass.
What’s more, trees and real grass can compete for nutrients and water in the soil. But artificial grass does not require them to stay fresh and green. That’s one less thing to worry about!
Will Artificial Grass Choke Out Roots Of Trees And Plants?
One of the biggest concerns we hear is that artificial grass will choke the roots of nearby trees. But this is not the case at all!
Artificial grass is permeable – This means water can flow through it freely. It also allows nutrients and oxygen to be absorbed through the soil.
However, depending on the surface around the base of your tree, you might need to take care to avoid an uneven lawn surface, or roots spreading and growing through your artificial lawn in the future.
Read on to find out exactly how to avoid this:
How To Install Artificial Grass Around Trees And Plants?
Over the years, our team has installed artificial grass in many different yards and gardens. And we’ve learned a few things along the way!
Here’s the important part: A careful, proper installation is always worth your time and effort. It ensures a long-lasting, durable artificial lawn for many years to come, and minimizes a lot of headaches down the road.
So here are a couple of pointers for a clean, durable artificial grass installation around trees and plants:
1. Research Your Tree And Watch Out For Its Roots
It is important to bear in mind that a standard artificial grass installation involves excavating your existing lawn, and replacing the top layer of soil in your lawn with a sub-base.
So before you do anything, its important to research your tree and get an idea of how its roots are growing below the surface.
Tree roots tend to grow downwards in search of moisture. But depending on the species of the tree, the roots can also spread horizontally, both above and below the ground.
In a standard artificial lawn installation, you will have to excavate at least 3 to 4 inches (or 7 to 10 centimeters) from the surface. Bear this in mind when you plan out your new lawn and make sure to avoid any roots that may be hidden from the surface.
2. Assess And Choose Your Plants Carefully
Not every plant is equal, and in our experience some will give you more problems than others.
Take a look at the plants and trees already in your garden right now. The ones you want to look out for are species with rhizomatic roots.
These plants have a tendency to send their roots horizontally and upwards from under the ground. And these shoots can break through your sub-base and artificial grass in the future.
Common examples include bamboo, aspen trees, and hops. Certain culinary plants like ginger and turmeric are also rhizomatous, though their roots will not spread as far.
It goes without saying that these species of plants and trees should be avoided if you plan to install artificial grass.
If they are already planted, then you should consider replacing them with species with less invasive roots. We recommend opting for drought-resistant, resilient species, so you end up with lawn that is overall low maintenance and easy to take care of.
3. Create A Tree Well Around The Base Of The Tree
As we’ve explained above, replacing your organic top soil with a sub-base can affect the health of your tree and how much nutrition and water its roots are taking up.
That’s why we highly recommend installing a tree well if you want to protect the health of your tree and ensure a high quality artificial lawn.
Tree wells are pretty simple to create. It is simply a circular wall around the base of the tree that separates the soil from the artificial grass.
This helps prevent water and nutrient runoff away from the roots of the tree, and keeps your tree healthy by making sure it has access to both in the soil.
The tree well will ensure no roots will be disturbed during the installation of your new lawn.
What’s more, it also provides a clean cut look to your installation, as opposed to cutting the artificial grass around any protruding roots, which will result in a very uneven, inconsistent look.
Tree wells are a part of the main artificial lawn installation process. You should mark them out before excavating the existing top soil, and construct the well out of curved lawn edging or bender boards.
From there, simply continue with your installation and treat the well as another edge of your artificial lawn.
You can do the same around bushes, hedges and other plants, though you will probably need less space between the base of the plant and the edge of the artificial grass.
4. Redesign Your Irrigation System
If you have an existing irrigation system on your lawn, you will have to rethink and possibly redo it as part of your artificial grass installation.
First of all, we recommend removing all irrigation lines that were put in place for your natural grass. For obvious reasons, your new artificial lawn will not need them anymore!
The easiest way to do this is simply to cap the irrigation lines off at the valves. We do not recommend sprinkler caps, as the lines themselves are left unaffected. This opens up the possibility of leaks during installation if the pipes are punctured or damaged by spikes and nails.
On the other hand, you may consider redoing your existing irrigation system if you have bushes or trees that rely on it for water.
By doing so, you will avoid puncturing the pipes, and at the same time get rid of any unnecessary piping too, since your artificial lawn does not require watering.
Conclusion: Laying Artificial Grass Around Trees & Plants
Despite what you might think, laying artificial grass around trees and plants is not difficult. All it takes is a bit of extra work at the beginning and careful planning, and you will be on your way to a beautiful, maintenance-free lawn.
Simply follow the steps outlined in this article, and you will be able to enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting artificial lawn for many years to come with minimal maintenance.