How do you plant in clay soil that does not drain water easily?

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We tried to plant a tree in our backyard but it died from overwatering, because the water did not drain deeper than the hole we dug to put the it in. It reacted like it was in a container with no hole in the bottom. How do we do this better next time?

My husband was very disappointed and frustrated.

Thanks for any guidance.

  5 answers
  • Grandma Judy Grandma Judy on Jul 07, 2018
    I have VERY clay soil. I always make the hole for the new plant at least a foot larger in every direction (below, around) and amend the soil with ‘garden’ soil I truck in from the local garden supply store. I keep a ‘tote’ full of amending soil near my garden and it a my ‘go to’ place all year round for soil additive.

  • Rymea Rymea on Jul 07, 2018
    There are trees that can live in soggy soil. River birch, bald cypress, and willow are a few. WE have the same problem.

  • Brendan OBrien Brendan OBrien on Jul 08, 2018

    Dig down a foot deeper and put a foot of sand in the hole before you plant. Mix some of the sand with soil for the next layer 50/50. Finally garden soil with your tree. Plant tree a little higher than the low area ( 3-5 inches above grade ) and mound soil around tree to completely cover roots. this will allow excess rainwater to run off to a lower area.


  • Roni Roni on Jul 08, 2018
    When I plant a tree, I always add crushed, dried egg shells to the tree hole prior to placing the plant inside it helps with nutrients & drainage.

  • William William on Jul 09, 2018

    You need to amend the clay soil. Dig in or rototill topsoil, peat moss and compost.