Planting Maple Tree in Dense Clay

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Old 08-14-20, 03:06 AM
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Planting Maple Tree in Dense Clay

Hello, I've come to realise that making a hole below the sod in my yard creates a bathtub effect. I've had 2 trees that have died within 2 years after planting, dispite following the standard planting method for clay soil (hole 2x root ball diameter, rock base, root shoulder higher than grade, etc ). I must have a tree in the front yard due to city regulations. I live in zone 4 climate.

What do I do to plant a tree in my yard to avoid the bathtub effect of the dense clay so that the tree can actually grow and survive?
 
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Old 08-14-20, 03:37 AM
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You simply have to dig a bigger hole and provide some way to drain the water down into the earth, everything will die if it sits in a hole full of water!.
 
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Old 08-14-20, 03:52 AM
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How do I do that? Wouldn't making a bigger hole just attract more water?
 
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Old 08-14-20, 04:28 AM
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You'll have to amend the soil. Locally we mix in small slate rock, sand might also work.
 
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Old 08-14-20, 05:00 AM
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In my part of NC there is a lot of clay and saprolite soils. Both of which don't drain water at all and I've had trees die due to root rot. For about 15 years I've been planting trees in mounds in those non-draining soils. I dig the usual hole and amend the soil but I also bring in extra dirt & compost to make a mound. Usually I go for having the root ball at least half above the surround ground level. Over time the organic matter breaks down and the soil compacts and after a couple years there is only a moderate hump around the tree.
 
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Old 08-14-20, 05:13 AM
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Amending the soil is the most important thing to do. Adding perlite or a sandy mix will help. I like PD's suggestion of mounding the base for water to drain away from the root ball.
 
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Old 08-14-20, 10:43 AM
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How can I amended the soil if it is heavy wet clay? Think thick pottery clay , that's what I got everywhere! Any hole takes Days to drain. My lawn stays wet for days also. I'm so confused
 
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Old 08-14-20, 11:57 AM
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You mix it in with a shovel or whatever, not saying it will be real easy. You want the hole to be bigger than you need to plant the tree.
 
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Old 08-14-20, 01:10 PM
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We have red clay in this part of NC. That's why there are a lot of brick factories. The clay we have is actually pretty good for many plants if you can keep it wet but when it dries it gets quite hard. You can amend with organic material like compost. You can also add calcium. Calcium sulfate (gypsum) is the easiest to add calcium but don't over do it as too much can bind up other nutrients.
 
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Old 08-17-20, 07:40 PM
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Does it HAVE to be a maple ?
 
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