• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Please critique my fruit tree plans!

 
Ian Richards
Posts: 6
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, folks. I found this forum after listening to Paul Wheaton on the The Survival Podcast talking about irrigation and hugelkultur, and it really got my ears perked up. I'm going to be planting 6-10 trees this summer, and I would really like to do it without needing a permanent irrigation system.

Some background - I'm in northern AZ, in zone 5 and at about 6500 feet elevation. We get about 12 inches of precipitation per year, with almost half of it in the late summer monsoons. I have a well and could run in-ground drip irrigation, but I'd much rather not, if I can keep the trees alive and productive without it. My soil is pretty sterile...the largest naturally occurring plants are junipers 5 to 12 feet tall, followed by ~3ft brush and low clumps of grasses and some wildflowers.

I have a gently sloping north-east facing hillside that I planning to use (my neighbor's trees are out in an open meadow, and almost always bloom before the last frost and then lose all their buds). The majority of my trees will be apples (I want to have a large apple harvest to make hard cider with), but I am also planning on a spattering of almond, pear, and apricot.

The plan I've worked out is to dig a nice big hole for each tree (I have a backhoe, so this isn't much work) and drop some big tree segments in the bottom. Then fill the hole back in with a mixture of straw, horse manure, and the original dirt. I'll form a water retention mini-terrace around each tree to help slow runoff and let is sink in, and set up a nice pile of rocks near each tree to hopefully add a bit of condensation moisture.

Folk who have some experience with trees, do you think this will be sufficient in a high-altitude semi-desert? Any suggestions of how deep the hugelkultur wood needs to be buried, or how much? The only local wood would be deadfall juniper, but I could also head up to the mountains and get some pine, if that would be better. Can you recommend a good ratio for mixing manure, straw, and sandy red dirt?

I've attached a photo of an area really close to my place (there's lots of clay in the shot, but my place is much more sand than clay).

Any advice would be much appreciated - thanks!
land.JPG
[Thumbnail for land.JPG]
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmmm... how do you apply hugelkultur to trees?
 
Ian Richards
Posts: 6
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bump - can anyone at least give me an idea if I'm on the right track here?
 
Salkeela Bee
Posts: 102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm from Ireland.... the landscapes could not look more different! 
So I'm no use to you at all!
 
Neal Spackman
Posts: 103
Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Ian--

It wouldn't hurt to have your soil tested for pH.  Most deserts are alkaline but I thought junipers prefer acidic soils, and either way it will influence how to improve the soil. 

Second, if you don't want to irrigate on that hillside you'll need some earthworks to increase your water retention.  Swales seems to be very popular for hillsides, but you wouldn't need to do one if you're not planting more than 10 trees.  Crescent berms could work--but I recommend reading up on keyline design and looking into the "Rainwater harvesting for drylands and beyond" series by Brad Lancaster. 

Regarding improving the soil, here in Saudi Arabia I'm doing 1 part compost to 2 parts sandy-soil (which is the only kind of soil i have out here), and i'm mulching like mad, but given the differences in elevation and rainfall, i'm not sure our desert situations are all that comparable. 

The manure and straw are a good idea--it would also be a good idea to interplant some nitrogen-fixers  between your fruits. 

 
duane hennon
gardener
Pie
Posts: 660
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


12" of precip, that's like a rainforest 

if you're close to Las Vegas you might want to check this out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QHgx0L8g6g

from another video, which i can't find, they use deep mulch (6'' and have swales that direct water from the "desert" into the orchard and use drip irrigation
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To make water collection work you'll need overland flow, so your 12 inches needs to come in slugs if you hope to capture water from 'donor areas'.  The amount of rain may be less significant then the time between rains... how long your system needs to store moisture.  You will have to survive an establishment period during which you will likely need to provide water.  Consider wind protection, as desert wind can really increase drought impact.  Since you are gowing perennial, consider that you'll need survival in the worst years, not just most years so look at variability on that 12 inch average.  I'd look for natural patterns of water accumulation in your landscape, and accentuate that.  Check out Mollison's arid lands design manual... there are some interesting ideas in there that a backhoe could help with (planting in excavated pits 30' wide, 10' deep ?!?!!!) to improve microclimate and get roots closer to water and to collect drip.  Look into non-traditional crops...not just the European preferences.  I believe your native people got a lot of protein from alkali fly larvae collected from the edges of briney lakes -- you are in a pretty serious landscape.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
    I forgot to dig in wood when i planted my apple trees this spring, last week and before, i have a big time problem as i am not there all the time and diggin gin wood is time consuming, though the truth is i temporaliy forgot about it, had  inot doen i could never have managed to find time for it so same difference. Maybe i can dig some wood in beside them at a later date.

    I dug a smal huggle culture bed a year and a half ago and when i pulled out some weeds a mouth r so ago they came up with bits of wood attached to their roots so they obviously like it. I once used corks to put in the bottom of my pots and later when transpotting them found that the roots of the potted plants went to the corks tha tmade me think they liked corks they never go to the bits of pottery i put into the bottom of pots to make sure they drain properly.
      I have planted apple trees in Spain which may seem to be to do an english thing in a mediteranean country but my garden is at a thousand feet and that is what the other people in the village plant. the garden is also near the centre of Spain so has a extreme climate and is cold in winter, as are many other parts of the interior of Spain, orange trres are planted on the mild eastern coast and in the extreme south. 

    I did put in micorryhzal powder with my apple trees and a childhood friend of mine is selling that and  that in Saudi Arabia, which should interest Pneal, in america you get it off paul stamets, to help make soils in the desert, the company that produces it is called zander. He is also selling humic acids and other soil enhancing products in big plastic pots. I  have not got in touch with him about these themes, it is his father who told me he was into this sort of thing.
    I did plant lupins and ceanothus and mimosas, as nitrogen producing plants and a cercis siliquastrum for same, so as to make the panting of the fruit trees even more permaculture.
      I shall have to put on a mulch before the summer sun heat everything up too much to help the ground to keep humid later. agri rose macaskie.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One thing you might want to consider is removing any junipers that are "upstream" of your plantings.  Juniper apparently suck a lot of water out of the ground, see http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1757
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
use any slope to drain away frost..last year we lost all our fruit buds to a mother's day 3 day 20 degree overnight temps period..and it was so sad..

that was an odd year but it was drastic.

i would probably do some hugel or swale around the trees to capture moisture but be careful to allow for frost drainage..don't dam up the frost right at your trees !!
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
adunca, the idea that trees compete for water is a question that needs discussing as the permaculture methods are those of planting a mixture of plants, as Geof Lawton says, he planted a lot of plants that weren't fruit producing in his desert permaculture garden to the suprise of the Jordanians, probably mostly ones that had m¡nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots.
    In decorative gardening they plant strange groups of trees sucessfully and when we grow food we suddenly decide we can't do what flower gardeners do all the time.

        Junipers are prefumed trees, an insence bearing tree, their wood is good against insects full of things that put off insects. Oil from the oxycedrusonr type of juniper is good against nitsand mange mange for example, it is also used in imbalming people, this is  proof of their force against insects and other pests. Junipers planted among your fruit trees may reduce the amount of insects that find your fruit trees.
 
     The idea that plants compete for nutrients has one very negative outcome, which is that plants are left as and island of green in the middle of a large emppty space, the competition for nutrients and water is so reduced but so is the shade, of the area, and so are the amount of plants contributing vegetable matter to the soil, vegetable matter that first coverst the ground protectings the soil from the rays of the sun and stoping the water in the soil escaping as it taps the earth a bit and later as it rots down and  forms part of the soil is what provides nitrogen and what absorbes and retains water more than soils without a lot of vegetable matter could do. Trying to increase the chances of evergreen oaks  say, by reducing competition from other plants,  is what has lead to very poor soils in many places full of evergreen oaks. The resulting poverty of the soil is probably what has made these trees so on the edge of disaster that they are drying up from any chance illness. NOrmal undernourishment leads to reduced resistance to illnesses. The prescence of live stock in a small enclosure at the feet of evergreen oaks also seems to kill them, they dont like too many nutrients but there must be a too few as well.

 Trees and bushes do something called hydraulic redistribuñtion, their tap roots feed their drying superficial roots with water in a drought and if there is a shower of rain this movement of water from the tap roots to the superficial roots that run horizontally just below the soil is immediatley reversed and the superficial roots take up water which is taken down into the soil through  the tap roots and stored at a depth.
 That trees supply their superficial roots with water means that there is more water just below trees  in a drought, and so the grass can stay green at their feet when it has already dried on other bits of ground.
    In spain the dehesas of junipers, juniperus thurifers, juniper farms are a sylvo pastoral exploitation. The trees trunks make very good hard beams and posts for  the construction of dwellings and the ground at their feet is used to pasture sheep and goats. The dehesas of junipers are where sheep and goats are farmed while dehessas of evergreen oaks are where cows, horses and pigs, are kept. i woudl not take them out of a poor desert place at least untill I had grown something to take their place as they might be the only thing that will grow there.
 The wood of the junipers is also used for fire wood, i have often smelt if being burnt in the village though that may well have been the old beams from a house that had been modernised that was being burnt. THe smokle of junipers is perfun¡med i knew a man in england who used to keep a branch of juniper in the fire place and burn the end a bit when he wanted to perfume his room.
 The juniperous thurifera of dehesas, grow next to evergreen oaks and the evergreen oaks loook perfectly healthy  when they grow nect to junipers.  

 I read a study about how it was proved that junipers take up through their leaves, the water of a summer shower to light to seep into the ground and so likely to merely evaporate off the ground, so they are  a good way of making sure you dont lose any rain water. A heavier shower is likely to run off the land as dry ground does not take up water easily unless you have small dips on the ground that hold the water for a few hours, we tend to even out all ground and so reduce the places were it would make small puddles in a storm and increase the run off. I htink dottign  small hollows around on your land should serve in the same sort of way swales serve in.
 Junipers the oxycedrus at anyrate, are very hardy, dry country, poor soil trees ,very goood for the borders of deserts, Jesus Charco in  Bosques del mediteranea y norte de africa, biodiversidad y la luch contra desertification, says they spring up in the green belts that have been planted in the north of africa, of pino carrascal i suppose, if these are untended. Their berries are sweet and ripen in winter and feed the fauna and even live stock so if you want to reduce the desert they are a potential ally.

 Junipers in the mountains of Guadalajara grow very close together were they have not been thinned out,thinning them out is a  fire reducing ativity. and were the ground has not been poisoned with herbicides. Grass grows at their feet, so it does nt seem that they take up so much water as to stop other junipers  or the grass growing the grass wont grow under beeches there leaves have a substance in the that ih¡'nhibite the growth of other plants.  
 
   On the other hand it may be true they take water from other plants.
    I have had difficulty establishing plants near the elms that come up on my land, though wild plums grow next to them. I  have had difficulties the only time i tried it, difficulties in one place is not conclusive evidence i suppose.
  Maybe you only have difficulties if you plant somethign near a more establishe dtree till the plants establish a good root system of their own.
 One contributer on the bit of the forum that was talking about fruit trees and the fact that you should not plant an apple were you have just taken one out, the fact that they produce a substance that stops another tree from growing where an apple or rose has grown and said that if your plant has a deep roots that it will survive being near another fruit tree, the bad effect mentioned only  effects plants that are shallow rooted or  have not grown their roots yet.

I have written a long peice on junipers in the woodland care section, that might be a help for ian, my garden is among hills covered in junipers in many placces and so i have read up about them. agri rose macaskie.
   
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
      I have a photo of the superficial roots of a juniperus thurifera that have been exposed because cars driving through the mud have made such a deep path as to expose a bit of each root. I put in the photo so people can understand about more superficial roots i think it is hard to understand how a lot of the roots run just under the ground while sinker roots or tap roots go deep into the earth. It is incredible how all  these roots are at about the same depth below the surface as each other.
      I put in another photo of the roots from closer up where it is easier to see they are indeed roots. agri rose macaskie.
427.JPG
[Thumbnail for 427.JPG]
488.JPG
[Thumbnail for 488.JPG]
 
Bill Schulz
Posts: 10
Location: Central Montana
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A few observations - wow, you are in a harsh environment for fruit trees. I like the hugel idea but don't know how effective the juniper will be as I have seen a lot of fence posts crafted from such wood - resistant to rot - and therefore maybe not a good future super nutrient pump for your trees. Other species avail?? Aspen, etc? I know there a lot of them growing at the base of Mt Graham !!!

Water - I would certainly make earth-shaping plans to catch and store water. Great idea esp if you have the equip to do the work. The young trees will need supplemental water during establishment for the first few years - think 5-10 gals per day per tree with your sandy soil. Lots of work to do by hand, but if are able, good luck! But since you have a well, I would seriously consider an irrigation scheme of some type...

I know it is not totally 'permacultury', but here is what I have done re water. I am in zone 3 northern plains (MT), semi-arid, and have about 3 dozen fruit trees (future food forest in training). Around most of them I have what is called a mini sprinkler that irrigates about 10-12' (diameter) around each tree. These sprinklers are very low volume and run on a cheap hose timer at night to minimize evap loss. The trees are also heavily mulched and interplanted with a wide variety of beneficial companions (n fixer, compost/mulch plants, beneficial insect attracting plants, etc.) which would not be possible to grow without the mini sprinklers. The total amount of water per tree is not huge but the mulch holds the water in, allowing the companions to survive, and the continiual re-wetting of the mulch helps the decomposers to break it down into soil much faster. The only negative is the up front cost, which although not great, is nonetheless another cost to consider. So that is what I am doing. If I only had a backhoe...no, wake up, someone please stop me before my wife gets home!!!

Best of luck and hopefully we will both be imbibing some fine homemade cider.

Bill
 
 
Bucks Brandon
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't have a specific suggestion for what kind of plant to plant, but look into nurse plants that you could plant in the same hole as the fruit trees... something that can provide some shade/mulch/nitrogen and is fast growing and will benefit the fruit tree. Once the fruit tree is well established and outgrowing the nurse plant, slash the nurse to the ground for one final mulching. Check out a copy of Gia's Garden from your library, it talks about some people who established a really nice garden in high dessert.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 
    CNN ran a bit the other day in Inside Africa, about a woman, a grandmother, who had started and got of the ground and made very successful, a fruit and veggies business in the townships of South Africa if i remember right and she had bettered her soil by using paper and cardboard to better the sand there. I found that interesting, if people like Bill Mollison  tell me somthing like paper can better soil i believe it, but i some how believe it much more when I hear of more and more people who have done it, some bit of my mind needs to hear things from lots of different people. She said her soil had been sand.

    There is a lot of cardboard in towns, at least in the west but I once put a lot of card board in my car and found it looked like a small amount when i got it to the country, i began to feel i would have to make a lot of journeys to get a good quantiy of cardboard into my garden.. So its bulky stuff and you would need a lorry to carry a good quantity of it off to your farm.

       I dont know what grows at that height in hot dry countries. Where is AZ,.
       If the roots of the trees are in contact with too much manure it may burn them.

      If you buy small trees, on a root stock that would not grow much or if you could keepthe apple trees tiny prunning ithem, into bush apple trees, then you can give them protection from the wind and cold. Maybe you could put posts up that would take a shade cloth till after the last frosts. I Iheard from a gardener that even a small net breaks the frost a bit , the branches of another tree over head would do the same, a bit, i suppose.  You could put up  sheets of plastic too, so they were, as if in a green house. Better lots of small trees covered in fruit than a few big ones with nothing on them.  
     If you plant them near the junipers woould these break the cold a bit ?
     I am not sure about this but if plants get frozen, is it better if they dont recieve the first light of the sun and uinfreeze too quick? There is a scene that indicated this in the book "Farmers Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, when they have to get out to save the potatoes before the sun gets up. If you plant the apples to the west of junipers, the junipers would protect them from the first rays of the sun.
     Junipers do serve as nurse trees for other junipers or some female ones do, i read, so maybe they could be good for other trees. I suppose if there is very little water, any plant wil take it all and if there is plenty then you can have lots of plants together. I find it hard to believe they drink much they are dry country trees not river trees like poplars or willows that really drink a lot.
   The only thing you can do is plant a apple tre next to a juniper and another far away and see.
 My only juniper is growing along side evergreen oaks and they are growoing well. I read that as junipers bare even dryer soils than ever green oaks, they out do these if there is less than two hundered and fifty mm of rain. If there is more rainfall and evergreen oaks are happier, then the evergreen oaks out do them, though it seems to me they get outdone because the villagers prefer evergreen oaks and dont cut them down or because they cut junipers quicker, the trunks of junipers serve as beams when they are pretty young and slender.  

     Can you buy apples trees that blossom late, look up "Habitat Aid" they sell apples and say which group they are in. It seems to me that those that flower first belong to group 1 and those that do so last to group seven. You need to know which group they belong to in order to have trees that will pollinarte each other  or just plant them with crab apple trees, which i love, which it seems have a long flowering period and so polinate trees from all groups. If you plant crab apples you can have lots of  crab apple jam. If you have late frosts you would need to buy apples from group seven. I don't know what sort of a time gap there is between the flowering of one group and another but it seems you can have a apple of group 2 fertilising one of group ! maybe even one of group 3. agri rose macaskie.
 
   
 
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
        Look here is a photo of a wood of evergreen oaks and junipers in which you can see that they are both growing together pretty well, except for the human factor,  the human factor is that the junipers are getting cut and the evergreen oaks left because the evergreen oaks are more usefull that the junipers they feed the live stock or because the junipers serve as beams when they are young so cut them and let new ones grow is the old fashioned way of treating them here.
      The junipers are the more hazy outlined pointed top trees and the rounded top ones are the evergreen oaks. These are the high altitude juniperus thurifera.
      Just at the moment there are plenty of evergreen oaks junipers but that is a situation that can change dramatically pretty quickly if the fate of junipers in other places is an example of what can happen. Cutting them is in fact illegal, without permision, but still an accident here and an accident there and trees disappear and wheet feilds appear, surrounded with ever green oaks. YOU have to take my word for theese beign junipers or go and see the wood that is on the road to Almiruete leaving Tamjon behind you, where there are about thirty inches of rainfall a year but where there is a three or more mounth dry season. the ground cover however in th ewoods can be bare but htat is because of herbicides as in other places near by grass grows under these trees. agri rose macaskie.
sabinar.jpg
[Thumbnail for sabinar.jpg]
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
      Here are some juniper roots, deep ones to give an idea of how important it might be to keep the juipers you have because they are mining for water and already have a good bit of the work  done and if you take them out it will take another tree a long time to get on as far as they have got.
    I have to do a tree roots thread.
   These roots are where a road has been cut though a wood of juniperus thurifera and exposed their roots.
the first is a bit of root from the tree high above this bit of root and way or a fair way above the road. The second photo ¡s of the same root and others going in and out of the slate at a bit more of a distance. 
        The third is another bit of root in slate, you can see the tree this root comes from i imagine it is the nearest tree to the root. agri rose macaskie.
   
root sabina albar slate..jpg
[Thumbnail for root sabina albar slate..jpg]
root sabinar albar in slate 2.jpg
[Thumbnail for root sabinar albar in slate 2.jpg]
root sabinar albar in slate by road.jpg
[Thumbnail for root sabinar albar in slate by road.jpg]
 
Dan D. Lyons
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Id recommend starting smaller, a smaller bed and less trees in case it doesn't work, you wont kill the trees and have a lot of time or money involved.  I mean can you plant apples there? Sure you can! Will they grow? Honestly without irrigation even in the best hugel bed with perfect runoff?  Is there something that is more drought tolerant and more native you might consider, perhaps jujube or prickly pear? That looks more like prickly pear country and if it's hard cider you are after, have you every tried a mead or a wine from the fruits of prickly pear? I bet jujube would make a fantastic fermented beverage too
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dan D. lyons It may well be that apple trees are norm in Ians place dry as it looks to you, after all they are what  Ians neighbor has according to him.
       I can imagine English people being very suprised about my garden, not just English people but English ones who know the mild coast of spain as does my uncle for example and so a place that is very different from the centre of spain. For instance the wild bit of my garden is full of cistus bushes and i have two olive trees,  cystus bushes are very delicate, the winters in England are often too harsh for them  and olive trees don't live there at all, though maybe they do now global warming has changed things and yet pears which do grow in England are hard to produce in the village where my garden is, late frosts normally get the fruit because at that height there are late frosts, there are frost till the midldle of april, or that is what a neighbor thinks happens to the fruit of the pear trees, maybe there is some other  problen like they should have a pear that will pollinate them with them.  He said there used to be pear trees in the village but it seems that most  have given up growing them. The nurseries here dont tell you whicch tree you need with which to polinate each other, Nor do they tell you whetehr a holly or a kiwior kaki is masculine or feminine, you have to chance it, it is a bit annoying  I have four pear trees, they never produce pears, but i have more apples than i want and i have olives, my olive flowers very late.
        Is it possible to grow olives there maybe because it never freezes so hard and long as it does in England where the ground can remain hard and frozen all day long, so the frosts  do not kill the olives? One of my olives is a winter hardy one but i dont know what the other is.
      Is it  that the cold is cold in a much less humid climate and so has a less drastic effect on the plants? The cistus grows wild, unaffected by frosts there, while the pear trees in the village are unproductive? Maybe cystus just need that extra sunlight that they get in the mediteranean. I don't know, I only know that cistus grows wild there and that the most planted fruit in the village are appple trees and that pears have been given up by my neighbors as impossible. I asked one neighbor about apricots and he shook hish head about them i  have bought two English ones that i hope will be cold hardy.  You have to be carefull with delicate plants there,  they might survive the winter but get taken off by a late frost. The garden is full of wild plums.
       This situation is incomprehensible to the English, i dont understand it but i know it is so, i see my olive thrive every year, each time a week and more of frosts makes me fearfull of the well being of the olive I go and find that it is fine, my apples flourish and the peaches do badly and the apriots, i have never had one yet, though i have only had an apriot tree for three or four years so maybe I will get one yet and i would not dream of trying a citrus fruit there without preparing a special spot for it like sepp holzer does, a deep alcove of stone that held the heat prehaps. I suppose he got a dwarf citrus so that it was not so hard to prepare a warm spot, he did not have to prepare for a warm spot that stayed protected to any great height. No one has citrus fruit there. The wild plants there need to be drought and heat hardy and cold hardy too, in the centre of Spain. A thousand meters is a about three thousand feet and there is about 30 inches of rainfall a year up there. agri rose macaskie.

   
       
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  I sent ian some PMs and then emails, on a basic plan to grow most any fruit trees right where he is...

  this is MORE then possible actually, though you DO have to water them the first few years no matter what you do.

  Im in nearly identical conditions as him and have studied this for a few years. late frosts will be a bigger issue for him then the dryness of the site.

    There are apples, and pears and peaches and plums all growing here WITHOUT doing any permie stuff!!!  though they dont produce as well as other areas, it well within their ability.....

    keep in mind this area looses 50 plus percent of the water to evaporation!! with a good mulch layer, then covered with rocks, it appears to me (though Ive got no way to test it) that Im now retaining 80-90 percent of the water. this is 60-80 percent more water.... Not just that either, because the water is more accessible longer.

PLUS you can get it to concentrate snow with berms.... raising it a bit more.... plus you can ensure it can get deeper into the soil, which means more roots have access. and on and on.....

make sure there is good biota in the soil, etc....

Like I said Ive found examples of many mainstream types of fruit here. without doing ANY of those things or watering them, that still produce. He can do most trees any zone 6 person could do. the bigger drawback is actually the late frosts then the water. because the water is real easy to account for by design, you can only do so much with late frosts.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When geoff lawton greened the dessert he did not plant one tree and wait to see if it would grow or not he planted in the whole design and crossed his fingers to see if it would work and then danced a jig when it did, he took a risk but was not he funded and did not he have lots of help from the group he was working for, free labor, so he could throw the whole book at it in the first year?
      He built his swales and berms and planted trees into the berms and had some other water source than the swales for drip irrigation, his triumph was to use very little of the water provided for the project, it was not to do it without any irrigation at all. He also put in a pond to collect rain water that could be used for irrigation. He planted the trees and put a good thick mulch on them and the drip irrigation and put in a lot of nitrogen fixing trees to enrich the earth, and ground plants that probably fixed nitrogen too, all at the same time, he probably put in beneficial fungi too, if you don't have enough money to put in all that in one year then you are less likely to be successful at first, it will just take you a lot longer. With a good drip irrigation line you should be fine with your apple trees, the minute my husband put in drip irrigation things went a lot better. I have brought trees through without it, the plums I have dug up from where they sprouted and planted were i wanted bushes have managed on their own, nearly with the bit of water I could give them when I went up every so often but if you can give the recently planted apples drip irrigation during the dry season they will grow quicker and bette, and ii should think you could get them through their first years.. 
      My earth is beginning to look good but i have had the garden for fifteen years, time for the grass to be able to better the soil with its roots and leaves  none of which were cut and removed by me filling the soil  full of organic matter and glomalin, even though i did not put on extra organic matter from outside on but if you can bring in a lot of cardboard or the sub products that get thrown out from other peoples gardens, bean stalks and such, then you can get good soil quickly.  agri rose macaskie
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

For anyone in a dry area where watering the the first few years just isnt an option.... plant your trees while dormant in the fall..... you arent likely to have 100 percent success like that, but youll have a much better chance then spring planting....

Nitrogen fixers will be VERY important for ian. our soils here are extremely lacking in nitrogen. and organic matter, which nitrogen fixers build up a bit faster.....

Ive all ready been doing this by the way!! Ive got examples of others who didnt do any amending and have solid trees. orchards are very feasible here.

Longer term as the site matures, it will be easier. as the biota can actually survive well in the soil, that makes all the difference in the world by itself.

did you see the later update video of geoff lawton rose? his sites were abandoned, and were neglected, so he did water them in to get established, but once they were, they fended for themselves and WELL!!! Its all in design. such trees wouldnt make it here on their own, but if you establish them under the right conditons they will...

of course lots of other useful things that arent as mainstream, that I hope Ian, uses as well, that will be more reliable. But he can do well with the more common stuff to, if hes willing to do the work. and from our email exchange it looks like hes more then willing....
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Silverseeds i had not thought of twhether the drip went on being on on Geoff lawsons project after his sites got abandoned.
i have a problem with stopping using drips once things get started, my husbab¡nd loves caring for the biggest and strongest plants in the garden and he is the one who controls the drip so that gets me saying, "i think the umbrella pine that is enormouse and could hardley be supposed to need a drip anyway it is such a dry place tree it does not need a drip," but i doubt very much that i shall convince him. I suppose thats funny, it messes up my good intentions about being as ecological as possible though. I did turn off the drip on the pine off last year but i dont realy like a sort of continual going behind the others back. His using drips on well estavblished plants  rather spoils any attempts of mine to prove what  can be done too. Thats life! Maybe i should put my all into fighting this, i have never had any success fighting with him.  If he uses a lot of water it makes me look a bit silly.

  Seems pears do need cross fertilisation,  I have just looked it up. The Spanish nurseries should have their heads cut off for not giving out this sort of usefull information, if they would give out the right information so that  people had more success with trees they would sell more i should think Also apricots do flower early i hav ere¡just read it up and  and get killed by late frosts, so maybe it does not frost really hard , i have never seen the ground frozen hard all day and the bigger puddle type poinds, bits of flood water never freeze hard enough to skate on nor dpes ot freeze jhhard enough to kill the olive trees  but the late frost lkill any flower that fñpwers tpp early.  agri rose macaskie.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In addition to the methods being suggested, to increase your odds of actually producing apples every year, I recommend having at least the capability of trucking in a tote bin of water if needed during the critical time when the fruit is growing and ripening. When I lived in AZ I remember seeing that an apple orchard was successful in the canyon just north of Sedona, right on the banks of the creek, but they could irrigate. The one at Slide Rock State Park, which was planted about a century ago and they still have productive apple trees there to this day. They may have some advice on what varieties to try. Good luck!
 
This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. Now it's a tiny ad:

the permaculture playing cards
richsoil.com/cards


  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic