Clay soil drainage

Asked May 29, 2018, 11:13 AM EDT

I recently purchased a tree (European tricolor beech) that wants well drained soil. I have clay loam (had a soil test already) but didn't realize how poorly it drains until I dug the hole for the tree—right before last week's rainstorm on Monday.) Well the hole filled with water and took 3+ days to drain. Is there anything I can do to improve the soil drainage before planting my tree? Or will this particular tree adjust to clay? I know I can add compost and over time it will improve the soil... but I don't want this tree to die in the meantime.

Allegan County Michigan

1 Response

Your water retention in your planting hole is pretty typical of clay. When you create a hole in clay you are essentially creating a bathtub without a drain. Even with amended soil in the hole, the water has no where to go. Creating a berm to plant is one way to do this. Creating a drain leading from the hole to a lower area is also possible. A French drain is another option.

I hope this is helpful,