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Yep, there's that fine Southern Illinois soil.... Equal parts clay and weed and grass killer.. (kidding).

I'd have to agree with Steve, if you build up a wall and infill you may kill off your tree. That may be more likely if you infill with lime as you stated. The soil quality is poor enough, I'd add pete and compost (more organic material) before I'd add any more mineral. IF you did do the wall (note the big if) you would ost definately need to incorporate drainage. Our neighbor had a retaining wall installed on his driveway and regraded his yard when I was a kid. It was fine till the spring monsoon season hit. The entire wall collapsed, burying his wifes car in the process, after a big rain. The hydraulic pressure behind the wall was to blame. New wall incorporated weep holes, a gravel bed and drainage tiles, as far as I know it's still there 35 years later.

Best of luck, keep us posted.
 
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