I have a large oak tree in my back yard. The previous homeowners had a wooden octagonal bench built around the base of the tree and filled in with soil that is about two feet high. Several years have passed, the oak has grown, and the bench has become dilapidated and must be removed or replaced. If we remove it, along with the soil around it which has surrounded the tree for many years, will there be irreparable damage to the tree/bark? Should we remove the bench, but leave the soil in place? I would like to get an expert opinion on this.

If the tree was originally there and then the soil was added around the tree, the it is highly recommended to remove all the soil back to the original soil level of the tree. The root collar or flare should be visible when you are finished removing all the soil. Excess soil piled around the trunk of the tree can and will lead to decay and rot at the tree trunk.

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