Answer: If your soil is hardpan and drainage is poor, you'll want to amend it with organic matter prior to planting anything. It's not a good idea to simply amend the planting hole, though, or the roots will be encouraged to remain in the hole instead of venturing out into native soil. So, if your soil needs to be amended, plan on adding organic matter to a large area and digging it in deeply. If you can't do that, consider planting your tree in a raised bed. A raised bed can be bottomless - just rough the soil up to a depth of 8-10" and then pile well-draining topsoil on top. Your raised bed can have sides, or you can gently slope the soil down so the bed looks like a berm. Then you can plant groundcover on the raised bed to control erosion, suppress weeds and regulate soil moisture. Best wishes with your new tree!
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