I am building a low level deck around a tree that is almost 7 feet diameter. This is the framing right now:
Originally I wanted to build a bench around it but I ran out of time and decking boards; BUT now, since I have tons of extra 1" drained rocks / gravels I am thinking about filling it up like below photo (from someone else):
Would this be bad for the tree? Will the base be harmed and kill the tree?
Is 1" rocks too small? I could put something (like lumber) to prevent them sliding down and out.
Based on some answers below, I am thinking about a way to solve stump rot and drainage issue. What if:
I staple landscape fabric / metal mesh in the bottom.
Then fill with >5" rocks instead of gravels
Leave like 1-2" of gap between rocks and decking boards if the rocks sit below the boards.
The reason I am sorta wanting to do this is because we have kids running around on top and I am afraid they fall or get their legs stuck around the tree. It will be a year before I get time to build the bench around this tree (due to work).