Help me save my Liquidambar Styraciflua!

Haydn Yates
May 18, 2018

Hi guys. Recently I dug a large hole (about 1m3) for a new Liquidambar Styraciflua. It was hard work; my soil is extremely high in clay content as you can see!

A week before planting, a heavy rain filled the hole with water (all of the surrounding concrete didn't help). The water level went down, over a week; verrry slowly, and I had to manually remove the last of it with a bucket the day before planting.

When the tree was planted, I intended to install a concrete barrier immediately to stop excess water (which is now done; see photo below), but a heavy rain beat me to it and filled the (new high quality soil) with water, making it quite wet. I've since been covering the soil with plastic during any rain while it dries out.

Digging down with my hand today to elbow length, i unfortunately found first dry, then, moist, then wet, then completely waterlogged soil. You can probably see the water shimmering in the middle hole of the photo below. I'm worried that if I don't do something, the tree will slowly (or quickly) die from root rot or some other disease.

I'd like to know what peoples thoughts are to keeping this tree alive and thriving.

I think covering the soil during rainfall will definitely help.

Perhaps I can add an additive to the soil to help dry it out? (although it will be hard now that the tree is planted).

But long term, I've thought of installing some drainage 'chimneys' before the three gets too large?.... pehaps a series of 8 or so 10cm holes dug down about 1.2-1.5m, and then filled with some sort of small stones for drainage, in a PVC sheath with drainage holes?

Any help would be appreciated. This tree was planted on the day that my first baby boy was born 3 weeks ago, and I really want it to be the tree that he plays in when he gets older.

As my parents did for me :)

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