Soil suggestion for apple trees needed

I am planting new apple trees next spring on a spot that lower then the rest of the yard for about 1 foot, so I am going to raise it before planting to avoid all the water draining under young apple trees. Original soil (should I say original fill) is very bad, but at some spots, where other plants(relocating them) were located it is almost clear town compost - only free soil I had at the time of planting, but it is several years old now. So I was going to ignore existing soil and just bring some mix on top of it. The question is - what mix. I can do top soil (but I do not really like the feeling of it, it looks dead), I can do compost, or mix top soil/compost in any proportion, other possible additives could be peat moss, semi-composted wood chips, fall leaves. Any suggestions? I will need about 5 yards of mix, so most of it should be already mixed, I only will be able to add what I need to make planting holes/hills.
Another related question. Is it better to raise whole area, or to make a wide hills for each tree? Basically what is bad for the tree, when water comes and stay around the trunk, or when it is staying on the drip line?

For apple I’d want soil fill not something that’s going to decompose and settle. You could mix in some compost but not over 10-20%. Then mulch the trees. That will be plenty of organic matter. Water that’s bad for the trees is continuously wet roots. You want as much root as possible above the standing high water mark. A day or two under water isn’t serious. But longer than that during warm weather is what you are trying to avoid.


Thank you, fruitnut! So the hills should be fine then, as most of the roots should be inside drip line, correct?

It’s not clear if most of the roots are inside the dripline. But a nice sized mound seems to work in most situations. That appears to be enough protection.