Alder Burns wrote:The other big player in your ecosystem, as well as mine, and one which makes big constraints on design, is wildfire. In general wildfire resistant design gravitates toward wide spaceing, such that the canopies of mature trees don't touch, and minimal underbrush, so as to minimize the fire-ladder effect. You want a ground fire to be able to go through the grass and mulch layer and stay there rather than get into the tree tops.....the bark of mature trees of many species can resist such a low-intensity burn. In most parts of the West, it is not a question of avoiding or preventing all fire, but preparing for it when it comes. The only exception to this would be a tight, dense planting that is under continuous heavy irrigation, preferably by overhead sprinklers that can be run before (and hopefully during, but don't rely on grid power to do this) a wildfire event.
F Agricola wrote:
If you plant ‘companion’ plants (small shrubs, ground covers and vines) all at the same time, in the short term they will compete for nutrients and water, so this needs to be applied often during the early stages. However, as all the plants mature, they usually form a symbiosis and don’t need a lot of care afterwards. The understory plants, particularly ground covers, will act as an indicator when it’s too dry e.g. wilting, drooping so then it’s time for everything to receive deep watering.
Spacing of the ‘companion plants’ is fairly intuitive and should be far enough away from the major tree trunk to allow unhindered human access to everything and allow good air circulation for pest management.
William Bronson wrote:
I wonder if there is a biomass crop that would thrive in between the trees during the wet season, capturing the high water table, and holding it as mulch during the wet season.
Of course you are already doing this with the existing grasses, I'm not sure if any other plant would be better.
You mentioned comfrey, let me suggest sunchokes,which produce a crap load of biomass.
Sure they spread, but only from the roots.
I find them manageable,but my scale is tiny compared to yours.
Lately I've been mulching paths with the stems to good effect
Tj Jefferson wrote: If those same "deep swales" happened to get a layer of clay on the bottom it would be terrible, just awful.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau F Agricola, I noticed some statements you made that I'm wondering where you got the information to make, please let me know where you read these.
1. "Canopy drip like is where the critical root zone exists."
* feeder roots are known to exist all along main roots even in mature trees, and it is also well known and documented that feeder roots extend far beyond the "drip line".
2. "A pseudo hugel could be made beside each tree to encourage Mycorrhizal production."
* Mycorrhizae are very specialized and only found around living root systems or inside living root systems. That means that they aren't going to be found in sticks, compost, dried lawn clippings or aged manure.
The main way mycorrhizae spread is by root interaction with the exomycorrhizae from one root, spreading to those in close proximity or via sporulation by human or other animal transport. Endomycorrhizae tend to attach spores to bacteria that then travel along a fungal network.
The other method of a plants roots finding mycorrhizae is via in ground spores.
* to the best of my current knowledge
James Landreth wrote:I've been wondering:
Longer term, I'd like to not have to water very often, or at all (say, maybe maximum one month deep watering). As I've mentioned, in summer things get REALLY hot and dry for quite a while (for me, "really hot" means 80's and up). Are there ground covers and shrubs that are drought tolerant enough to take that? I hesitate to do a lot of guild or companion planting as I don't want to have to irrigate the whole field forever and ever. I don't mind watering things to establishment, though. Do you have any ground covers or shrubs that you'd recommend?