Margo writes: "Perhaps I could get your expert opinion? I would like to plant three Cleveland pear trees in my backyard. I was thinking of building a raised bed (with flowers, too) around them to divide the yard into different areas. I just Googled 'planting trees raised beds' and found lots of opinions that point to the contrary. They said that the flowers would compete with the roots, that the roots would suffer in the confines of the enclosed bed, and that trees don't thrive with lots of topsoil on their roots.
"Is this true? These are not inexpensive trees, so I don't want to jeopardize my investment, but I also want to know that I've got all the right information before I start this endeavor."
Our experts answer this question on planting trees in raised beds in the Landscaping forum. If you take anything at all away from this discussion, it should be this: that in Googling for answers to your landscaping questions, you must often double-check that you're "on the same page" with the authors whom you're consulting. A subtle difference in perspective can skew an answer rather dramatically. Margo, fortunately, double-checked her Web research on my Landscaping forum, where, Dan, one of our landscaping experts, makes a crucial distinction that sets her mind at ease.
Cleveland pear trees, incidentally, are considered an improvement on Bradford pear trees, being less susceptible to damage from ice, snow and high winds.