Can several people explain to me [per the advice given here in another thread regarding not adding soil on top of the root area of a mature Bridalwreath Spirea shrub] about adding soil on top of the root area of a tree [in my case a common type of spruce]. In our strata we have a raised earth berm of 20 years duration separating the grounds from the street, and on that berm various conifers have been planted, most of which have fortunately done well. I have only been here about 4 years so have not seen the whole picture. It is irrigated, but tends to be dry and now very root-bound. Mainly substantial cypress and cedar type hedgings and trees, and pines grow on it. Sorry for not being more specific, but I don't know all the tree types here well, being originally an East Coaster. A previous owner also planted some spruce behind our unit, on the berm, which have grown substantially, 30, 40 feet tall and maybe 4 or 5 of them...to help protect from traffic sounds and street view, etc... A couple of years ago our landscaper's worker excavated some soil away from our unit's foundation [it was mainly spent mulch and dry and powdery, but some heavy clay earth too, and I wanted room to spread some bark nuggets as a trim] and dumped it on the berm, around several of the spruce root area, fairly close to the trunk but not up against it... it was not a huge amount of earth, but maybe 2 or 3 wheelbarrows full altogether. I wondered about it at the time. It is still there, piled in some lumpy bunches about 4 inches high, around the spruces' general tree root area. The roots, however, extend further out than that, and are visible further down the berm and well exposed to air and not covered, etc... One spruce is now dead or dying, and needs to be removed -- this happened gradually over this past year. A result of the earth-dumping? The dead one is leaning rather drastically to one side, and a still-healthy-looking spruce is also leaning dramatically in the same direction, and leaning on the dead one... the landscaper says he can remove the dead one but I am wondering what will happen to the living one. The root area does look a bit loose on the windward side. We have high winds in this area when in a windy cycle, and our theory is that the wind loosened the trees -- this happened during this year. There are several tall narrow crowded-in spruces with them, which should perhaps be removed too, which don't look too thriving but I think it's owing to over-crowding -- the dumped soil is not in their root zone. In fact, the dumped soil is not specifically under the dead tree at all, but in the general area... Should we remove the soil, along with the dead and non-thriving trees, or do you think it is not really a factor... it isn't a huge amount. Curious.