Picture of How To Make Concrete Tree Rings
Why make "tree rings"? you ask.  As part of a landscape, a tree is a very special plant and to give it a more formal air and enhance it's place in the garden, a tree ring adds that touch of formality and "class" to the scene.  In addition, with this method, I am able to "label" the ring, or add personal touches and or tree names.  It's a fun project and I plan on making at least a few more for other trees I have or will obtain. 

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Step 1: Make Circle Template From Cardboard

Picture of Make Circle Template From Cardboard
To make the ring, we need a form in which to pour the concrete.  I decided a three foot or 36" ring would be adequate for my small trees so started by making a 36" circle out of cardboard.

Step 2: Use Template To Make Pattern For Forms

Picture of Use  Template To Make Pattern For Forms
The circle is divided into 6 equal parts so that there will be 6 blocks or pieces of concrete surrounding the tree.  Consult any geometry book or go on line and look up how to dissect the circle into 6 equal or almost equal parts. The pattern is one of these 6 equal sections.  This can be traced, or when laying out the circle, use your circle drawing tools to mark a separate piece of cardboard.  I wanted to make the segments 4.5 inches wide, so simply drew an inner circle 4.5 inches shorter than the large template.

Step 3: Cut Pattern And Use To Mark Wood

Picture of Cut Pattern And Use To Mark Wood
The pattern is then placed on a piece of 2 x 8" lumber, centered between the edges and the pattern to cut is marked.  Leave several inches on each end so that the ends when cut off can be used as end caps for the concrete form.

Step 4: Cut Form Out With Bandsaw

Picture of Cut Form Out With Bandsaw
The first step here is to cut the angle of both ends. I use the cut off miter saw for this step. The form is now cut on the band saw as shown.

Step 5: Make A Base For Form

Picture of Make A Base For Form
What we end up with is the basic form of 4 pieces of wood that will have a  base, or bottom,  attached with drywall screws.
bigloaf2 years ago
Hi C Man, Say, I think you made a small error when you describe making the template 41/2" wide. To get a 41/2" wide block you need to make the inner circle 9" in diameter smaller not 41/2" as you described.
Great project. I'll be make beucop of these for all my landscape trees. I hate the thin junky edging you find everywere.
Mister DO3 years ago
If you spray adhere the styrofoam letters backwards to the bottom of the mold, you'll end up with a nice negative.
ax895 years ago
That looks very nice, and the permanent label is a very classy touch.  Did you connect the segments in any way?
Creativeman (author)  ax895 years ago
Thanks for your comment.  As of now, I have not connected them, but may make a poured concrete base, much like a curb, then mortar the segments in place. That would require much more effort, but would be worthwhile in a formal, landscaped, public space such as an arboretum or park. Cman
I'm concerned that making a solid, unbroken "curb" or base may end up either being damaged by growth of the tree, or cause damage to the tree and /or its roots as the tree grows.

Of course, this point is moot, IF the size of the ring designed for the maximum size of the tree at maturity.
mouse235 years ago
Consider neutralizing the alkali from the ring leaching into the soil.
ChrysN5 years ago
Nice, adding the lettering is really cool!
Creativeman (author)  ChrysN5 years ago
Thanks Chrys. Cman
ktkeith5 years ago
Nicely done. Just one question: how do you highlight the lettering in the personalized forms? It looks like you filled them with some sort of dark material - is that it? Or did you just paint the molded-in letters?

Thanks. Good job!
Creativeman (author)  ktkeith5 years ago
Black styrofoam...see link in step 9.
rhino5 years ago
Don't you have to reverse the letters in the mould for them to come out correctly?
Creativeman (author)  rhino5 years ago
Yes, as explained in photo note, step 9. Cman
tomstedham5 years ago
This is a wonderful idea!
Creativeman (author)  tomstedham5 years ago
Thank you. Cman
tacamaral5 years ago
Wow, really nice. I wish I had a garden to make some of these.
Creativeman (author)  tacamaral5 years ago
Thanks. Cman
Ninzerbean5 years ago
These are a fantastic idea, very well documented too.
Creativeman (author)  Ninzerbean5 years ago
Thanks NB! Cman
This is very pretty but you should talk to an arboriculturalist professional about foliage drip lines and there corresponding feeder roots before doing something like this.  It many not happen tomorrow but a few years from now this could cause problems (this reminds me of mulch volcanoes) .