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Potential ideas for more heat/drought tolerant kraters  RSS feed

 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I've had issues this year with apples, in particular, not getting enough water. Placement of the trees has some impact, as they are the topper edge trees. Also the quality of the krater has an impact. Some of the kraters have simply done better than others because of soil content and or how they were dug. Seems steeper edges do better than gradual slopes.

Anyway, looking to the future I'm wondering if digging my kraters and seeding them a few years ahead of tree and bush planting would help. The ground would be shaded better and the krater far more healthy. I'm thinking a circle of caragana bushes along the outside perimeter to help shade and block wind.

Mulch would be a more immediate answer and I'm sure I'll get that. It blows away. I've had it recommended I keep it in place with rocks but I'm not sure how feesible that is as far as actually getting that many rocks.

Anyway, think pre-planting may be the answer.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I agree with your idea of planting a living mulch - you might want to look into natives if you haven't already, especially native legumes and plants for pollinators. Not exclusively natives, though, just natives in the mix.  I wouldn't bother about rocks if you don't have them on site, too expensive to buy and too much trouble to haul if free.  If you have to haul something, haul feed for your critters, not a bunch of stupid rocks!

Native seeds and plants: https://www.prairiemoon.com/

I'm always interested in your projects because of the challenging conditions there at your place!
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 202
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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dog duck hugelkultur
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I have had some success increasing water retention and soil accumulation around blueberries and fruit trees with rings of woody debris of varied sizes that you could use as the foundation of the edge of your crater with soil over the top. It is a bit like hugelculture but for below/ground-level plantings. This will hold water from heavy rains for awhile, even absorbing condensation on dewy nights. It also decomposes into soil very efficiently and adds fungal inoculation (which builds up on every year of wood growth). I use hard to work with/rotten pine/spruce mostly as this is whats available to me locally. This is ideal for blueberries which grow in this type of environment naturally, but as long as it is not a alkaline dependent plant the wood will not excessively acidify the soil as much as people assume it will because the fungus from the wood will get naturally selected for the tree's ideal ph modification by the plant trading sugars for water and nutrients. Wood also acts as a heat sink and produces heat to start growth in the spring earlier..
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I agree with your idea of planting a living mulch - you might want to look into natives if you haven't already, especially native legumes and plants for pollinators. Not exclusively natives, though, just natives in the mix.  I wouldn't bother about rocks if you don't have them on site, too expensive to buy and too much trouble to haul if free.  If you have to haul something, haul feed for your critters, not a bunch of stupid rocks!

Native seeds and plants: https://www.prairiemoon.com/

I'm always interested in your projects because of the challenging conditions there at your place!


I have planted enough seeds that I have a fairly large biodiversity now. My plan is to collect and sew seeds from my own plants. It will be sainfoin, yellow sweet clover (which I find does a terrific job at everything I need even though it annoys the crap out of me to have it), alfalfa, grasses, herbs, flowers, etc. The caragana is spreading itself around our tree line so I can just dig it up and move it. I feel confident I can do this without purchasing much of anything, though I find throwing a bag of black oil sunflower seeds adds a big of sunny disposition to my plantings and costs little.

What I do know is that planting trees, bushes and seeds all at once is leading to a 50%mortality rate and that 90 degree days are killing a lot of them. I need to do something at least.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Ben Zukisian wrote:I have had some success increasing water retention and soil accumulation around blueberries and fruit trees with rings of woody debris of varied sizes that you could use as the foundation of the edge of your crater with soil over the top. It is a bit like hugelculture but for below/ground-level plantings. This will hold water from heavy rains for awhile, even absorbing condensation on dewy nights. It also decomposes into soil very efficiently and adds fungal inoculation (which builds up on every year of wood growth). I use hard to work with/rotten pine/spruce mostly as this is whats available to me locally. This is ideal for blueberries which grow in this type of environment naturally, but as long as it is not a alkaline dependent plant the wood will not excessively acidify the soil as much as people assume it will because the fungus from the wood will get naturally selected for the tree's ideal ph modification by the plant trading sugars for water and nutrients. Wood also acts as a heat sink and produces heat to start growth in the spring earlier..


My problem would be accumulating wood. I live on the plains. No good source.
 
Steve Farmer
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Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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forest garden greening the desert trees
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I used to "dig" (actually with a hammer drill as I am planting trees in solid rock) my craters then plant immediately. Now I dig the crater a little bigger than the rootball as before, then drill several holes down with a metre long masonry drill. Then I fill the hole with water at least once a week for a few weeks before planting. Each crater is found to contain rabbit droppings after the first watering, and further waterings wash these in, along with dust, leaves and whatever else has blown in. The trees that end up in the hole seem happy enough.
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 202
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
9
dog duck hugelkultur
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Sorry, I forgot I live in a forested wonderland (NW CA). Rocks do much of the same thing (minus fertilization), especially porous ones. Use the rocks to accumulate soil as the wind hits them as well as to block it.
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 202
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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dog duck hugelkultur
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Any abandoned shacks around? Sometimes the owners will be thankful for anything you haul away and if its untreated/unpainted, use it to build or hold soil depending on its remaining integrity. And/or, try planting thousands of trees and you will find some badasses in the bunch who can handle your conditions.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Steve Farmer wrote:I used to "dig" (actually with a hammer drill as I am planting trees in solid rock) my craters then plant immediately. Now I dig the crater a little bigger than the rootball as before, then drill several holes down with a metre long masonry drill. Then I fill the hole with water at least once a week for a few weeks before planting. Each crater is found to contain rabbit droppings after the first watering, and further waterings wash these in, along with dust, leaves and whatever else has blown in. The trees that end up in the hole seem happy enough.


I understand what you mean and have planted bushes in holes before. When I say krater though I mean a krater.
Seaberry-Krater.jpg
[Thumbnail for Seaberry-Krater.jpg]
 
These are not the droids you are looking for. Perhaps I can interest you in a tiny ad?
Rocket mass heaters in greenhouses can be tricky - these plans make them easy: Wet Tolerant Rocket Mass Heater in a Greenhouse Plans
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