We're working on improving the soil conditions on our plot of 16 acres in Northern California, near Hornbrook, CA. We're at 2172 feet elevation, USDA hardiness zone 8a.
There are strong winds in the area and one hill slope in particular is especially wind-swept and therefore prone to rapid desiccation, minimal surviving plant life and erosion. I am hoping to establish a windbreak to improve moisture retention in the soil, reduce erosion and eventually help establish plantings on the hillside once a windbreak is established. This is also drought country-- we get 21 inches of rain on average per year, some snow, but there's a long dry season.
I'm familiar with some trees commonly used as windbreaks but looking for specific recommendations for these conditions.
Can anyone recommend any particular trees that may be ideal?
Attributes I'm considering include:
1. Fast growing
2. Drought/heat tolerant
3. Nitrogen fixing
4. +/- California natives
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your wisdom,
Blaise, Perhaps more information than you are after, but a good guide written for the Intermountain West that may point to species that would do well in your area. See the Appendix starting on p. 24. Good luck!