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oak and juniper  RSS feed

 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Where I live we have pretty dense oak scrub and juniper. Think machete to cross the land. The oak seem to be nurse plants to the larger pines. Pinion seem to eventually shade out the oak.
My question to the smart guys is, would it be advisable to tear out old oak scrub (7 feet high and 20 feet Dia) to work keylines or is this a case where maybe another system might work better? I'm thinking the tap roots of the oak and juniper might be a resource to bring up water. Or perhaps a one straw style hugle. As in, tear one out and plant in the only good soil on site.
Thoughts? Thanks guys,
Jim
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
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I'm not a smart guy, but, I think it might be appropriate to clear out selected areas of brush and small trees in order to put in water harvesting earthworks. All of the cut material can be used for erosion control berms, hugelkultur, chipped for mulch, or used for firewood. None of it should (in my opinion) be burned to "clean it up" (folks love to do that here). Every bit is valuable! I think a very careful plan of the land, identifying where infiltration basins, swales, etc will go and then a long-term plan for gradual removal of material in the way of the structures, is a way to proceed. I would by no means do any broadscale clearing, just nibble along one area at a time, for instance starting at the highest point of the property and working downward to install various earthworks. I would probably personally choose to take out more of the juniper and leave more of the oaks, given a choice between one tree and another. Here on my place there's usually a nice oak or elm tree behind every obnoxious juniper!
 
Owen Hablutzel
Instructor
Posts: 44
7
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Hi Jim!
Not really possible to give a meaningful answer to your query until we understand what your goals might be for your land... If your goal is a kitchen garden, that would likely indicate a different approach then if your goal is 20 acres of irrigated pasture... If you haven't already, a great practice is writing your goals down, both for your land and your quality of life, and linking them... Once you know what you're after you can begin to better evaluate different potential strategies to get there...

a couple of thoughts anyway...
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Thank you both Tyler and Owen for taking interest in our ongoing project. Tyler, I like your idea of starting at the top or elsewhere and clearing a bit and converting a place to hugle mounds/beds. Tucked up tight the remaining oak and juniper can provide a wind break. Much needed here.
Owen, we have 20 acres and want to over time develop it into some orchard (modest 50-75 trees),some spotty pasture (2 cows in a padlock shift). I say spotty because of the lay of the land. The parcel is long and has 80 feet drop from top to bottom. I could never be classic pasture. It also has a seasonal stream. This year it did not run at all. We intend to have pigs. Already have chickens and turkeys. We do not yet padlock shift them. A house comes first. I might mention we are off grid and anticipate a well by next spring (fingers crossed) till then its trucking in water and harvesting run off. 11.5 in Avg a year. To say we need to capture water is an understatement.
What ever we do we have a tight budget (dont we all?). So broad scale, rent giant excavtor for two weeks (I operate one) land forming is not real likely. We do have a CAT 257B on site permanently. It's small for most stuff here but a real blessing to have at all. Gota love hydraulics! It can aid in hugle construction and much more though.
Thanks again guys. Here is a pic of the place to give ya an idea of the type of landscape we have.
Jim in Tehachapi
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Road project with scrub in background.
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Working on solar rack with some foliage to be seen.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
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Starting at the top is good because the volume of run-off is much less, so can be controlled as you work down the slope. Alternately start right around the house site and work out from there.

Very scenic, beautiful land you have there.
 
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