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What should I do with these fruit trees for water?

 
Posts: 27
Location: Jackson, United States
forest garden trees chicken
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These trees are at my neighbor's house. We have free access to them. I pruned them early this spring and all but one have now leafed out better than last year. That one hasn't shown any signs of leaving dormancy. My neighbor irrigates them periodically in the warmest weather but we're both on wells so I've offered to do the labor for passive water collection beginning next fall. What's best bet: cup swales, terracing carefully around the trees, other options? He knows nothing of permaculture and I'm a beginner at putting things into practice. I will probably be taking a load of used goat bedding and straw or wood chips up for mulching and fertilizing. Anything else?
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gardener
Posts: 2695
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Mulching is good. Grass/Hay will break down quicker and get benefits in ground quicker than wood chips.

What's your summer like as far as rain? That varies. My trees need no water by the third year unless we have long drought streak.
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
246
forest garden urban
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It's hard to tell from photos, but it looks like those trees are on a slight slope. I would want to avoid disturbing established roots by digging out new swales. However, it is possible to get the effect of small swales by building a low berms upslope of the the trees. Even lines of rocks laid on the contours of the ground can help with this.
 
Mary Leonard
Posts: 27
Location: Jackson, United States
forest garden trees chicken
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The slope is just like on my property, about 45 degrees. Too steep for the riding mower.

Rain is done for the year. We average 40 inches between October and May. This year was over 50.

There's plenty of brush that needs cleared so I think I can start using that to pile on contour upslope. Thank you!

Now to figure out why 4 of my 6 fruit trees didn't leaf out. Mine are all new trees.
 
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