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Reforestation - Growing Trees in Arid - barren lands-Almond trees - Apricot Trees
Hello everyone,

I thought I should post an update on this topic.

I Just visited a place here in Northern Greece near Thessaloniki, where I planted hundred of almond and apricot seeds, and a couple cactus pads were placed on the ground - the results were very, very good - while I did not count, it seems that more than 90% of the trees survived the long hot summer – it’s amazing to me - almost a miracle.
I will continue to monitor to see how they do in the years ahead.

Here are some photographs.
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It appears that the apricot tree is dead - no leaves on it.
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A bit of digging reveals a good size root.
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ApT-3.jpg
The root is deep and it feels that it is alive - it does not break when pushed – it’s not brittle.
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Continuing with the photos.

Kostas
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The root system of an almond tree - strong deep roots - most almond trees survived and developed leaves in the fall.
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ALT-2.jpg
The trunk broke and it’s not visible, but as shown in the picture the root system is alive and leaves have sprouted.
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Cactus-pad-1.jpg
Two pads were thrown on the ground, late spring - they were not planted - amazingly they not only survived, they developed roots and sprouted - the possibilities are endless with this plant.
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(2 likes)
And finally some pictures of trees with leaves on them - the majority

Kostas

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Hello Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has tried planting seeds, almonds apricots etc and what are the results?

Thanks

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Hello Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has tried planting seeds, almonds apricots etc and what are the results?

Thanks

Kostas


I have seedlings from Apricots, Nectarines and Cherries... Try some Cherries the seedlings from them come up every where every year under my Cherry... Royal Annes are the best in My opinion but any variety will do well and taste good right off the tree and into your mouth...



Cherry tree from my former urban food forest yard... I'm in southern Idaho which is arid high desert...

(1 like, 1 apple)
UPDATE

A year and a half ago in Oct n Nov 2012, we placed a few hundred almond and apricot seeds in the ground here in the outskirts of Thessaloniki Greece. Some have survived and are doing well. About half of them though did not make it. They survived the difficult summer of 2013 but it appears an early frost in October killed them and they did not re sprout from the base as I was hoping. We will need to replant the effected areas. we are thankful for the ones that survived.

We also planted about 250 almond and apricot seeds in the ground about half an hour south of Thessaloniki – these have survived and are doing well – we have around 75% survival rate.

See



and




This is very fast and inexpensive way to plant trees, IF IT WORKS.


OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS

This is an overview of our efforts to find ways to economically reforest and improve the soil here in Greece.

In October, November and December of 2013 - six months ago - we placed about 20,000 almond and apricot seeds in the ground in different locations in Greece. In the north , near Thessaloniki and the the south near Sparta. Elevations varied from 200 to 1100 meters. They were places at 8 different locations. The climate in each area is different. It costs around 3.5 cents (euros) to buy the seeds and the labor to place them. We can place around 200 to 250 seeds per hour in the ground in flat terrain. In difficult terrain this drops down to 60 to 100 per hour and the cost increases.

We will monitor their progress over the next few years. In addition each year, for the next 3 to 4 years we will come back and place additional seeds in the ground to replace the ones that did not survive.

We place the seeds close together. About a meter apart. These trees are used more for ground cover and soil improvement.

We intend to come back in 10 to 15 years and plant a large variety of trees in the shade, cover of our trees. It took 3 to 4,000 years to destroy the forests that existed here and they will not be replaced overnight.

We also put some these seeds in clay cubes as a trial to see what happens. The clay balls and natural farming are the work of Masanobu Fukuoka (see Sowing Seeds in the Desert) . They hold the key to aerial reforestation.

See



There is an urgent need to rebuild the ancient forests. We cannot survive in a barren landscape.


Kostas
Hello,
I live in a like Mediterranean climate (San Diego, California, USA). I'm very interested in experimenting with almonds and apricots on my 2 acres of sunbaked southwest exposure sloped property.

Did you have to stratify the seeds or prepare them for planting in anyway? When I research apricots it mentions refrigeration and removing the seed from the outer shell.
What technique if any did you use in preparing the seeds?


Thanks very much for your exciting work.
Hello Chris,

No prep - just dig a hole about 2 to 4 inches deep and drop in the stones - Oct Nov and Dec are good months - with December being the best.


You should experiment with other seeds also to see if the have the characteristics of almonds and apricots.

Space them close together - if these seeds sprout as expected you can turn the 2 acres into a green lush forest in no time - 15 years or so.

How is the fall, winter and spring at your land - does it get a green cover of grass or any shrubs or trees?

Good Luck - please let us know how it goes.

kostas
I am saving seeds for this fall. The areas I desire to do this on have cows throughout the summer.........I have some ideas though. One of these days I may purchase a cement mixer so that I can can make seedballs. "Insert happydance emoticon here." LOL
(1 like)
AUGUST 10 2014 UPDATE

File this under great/fantastic news.

Nine months ago (around November and December 2013) we ran a small experiment to identify additional trees and shrubs that have similar qualities to almonds, apricots and cactus pads.

We placed in the ground and monitored the following seeds.
Prunes,
Cherry,
Wild cherry,
Plums
Apple,
Wild pear, and
some laburnum anagyroides.

They were placed in one location - about half hour south of Thessaloniki Greece.

It should be noted that we had very unusual weather this year. We are having a very wet summer - it rains almost every other week - typically we may get one or two rainstorms in the summer - sometimes not even that.

Now for the results.

The top four seeds did not sprout at all. I was sure the prunes and wild cherry would do well.

The apples did very well (not expected - they were placed almost as an after thought).

The wild pears recommended by friends and by people on this forum also did well.

The laburnum anagyroides did ok - we need to check it further.

We need to check the results in the other locations in southern Greece with their different climates. If the results hold, we have 3 more trees to aid in our reforestation efforts.

So the list so is as follows:

Almonds,
Apricots,
Cactus pads,
Apples,
Wild pears, and
laburnum anagyroides
.

This is more than enough to build new ground cover and to begin to reclaim barren lands.

In due time we will identify additional trees - there will be trees that do well in high elevations but not in lower etc. Also the seeds that did not sprout may sprout and survive in other locations ; its also possible that I collected bad seeds. We will need to double check.

We will also look for ways to convert the existing pine forests into a combination of pine, fruit and nut forests. Pine forests are weak and susceptible to diseases and fires. It will be interesting to see if the trees we have identified so far, will grow in the partial shade of pine trees.

Kostas
Thank you Kostas! This is a great thread! I have a few almonds on my land (some if them are roumered to very very good)I think I will try pick some of them around our comming community garden. Do the same w. The carob trees at either end of our property, to form a fire belt. I will pick different legumes around the area (we don't have any aside from carob), and plant those too. I have massive peach stones, mango, cherries and avocado stones lying around the house, as I keep almost everything we eat. Our ground is cast, so I will try to plant massive amounts of date seeds too. Prickly pear, vertiver grass and sisal/aloe could be good too. Aside from that we have lavender, rosemary and thyme growing wild and those could be planted on contour to hold on to the soil. And oaks, pine and laurel on the top of the mountain, apples and figs in the arroyos I think
Thanks Dawn,

God luck with your projects - please let us know how they go. I would be interested on how each seed that you mentioned does.


Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:

Nine months ago (around November and December 2013) we ran a small experiment to identify additional trees and shrubs that have similar qualities to almonds, apricots and cactus pads.

We placed in the ground and monitored the following seeds.
Prunes,
Cherry,
Wild cherry,
Plums
Apple,
Wild pear, and
some laburnum anagyroides.

The top four seeds did not sprout at all. I was sure the prunes and wild cherry would do well.



Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:
.... Also the seeds that did not sprout may sprout and survive in other locations ; its also possible that I collected bad seeds. We will need to double check.


without knowing much about anything you are doing (i havent gotten through reading this thread),
i agree that your seeds were bad and these trees would be excellent for your purposes.

fruit seeds are the shortest lived seeds, you need to get them fresh.
its much better, if you cant get the actual fruit and put their seeds immediately in the ground, to not dry them out completely.
the seeds need to retain some of their moisture to continue to be viable.

other seeds arent like this, some will stay good for more than ten years even completely dried.
but fruit seeds really only have a year max to stay good, and even better is to be planted after a good soak.
second best would be having them sort of dried, dry enough to ship or store temporarily but not completely dried, and put them in the fridge in plastic baggies.
Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:
We will also look for ways to convert the existing pine forests into a combination of pine, fruit and nut forests. Pine forests are weak and susceptible to diseases and fires. It will be interesting to see if the trees we have identified so far, will grow in the partial shade of pine trees.


+ berries =)
thats my suggestion. blueberries love pine, other berries do well in forest gardens with more shade, and are ok with the acid of the pine.

heres some more suggestions, granted i know nothing about your climate except thats its pretty hot, so throw these ideas out the window if they are no use to you

loquats

guava, especially pineapple guava

fuzzy kiwi

olives

figs

papaya

mandarin, tangeringe, kumquats, lemon
citrus can be hardier and easier than one may think =) tho they are fussy about getting watered, they dont like lots of water

even though those are mostly cultivated trees and plants, i could see those being able to get feral and make it on their own. at least a percent of them would.

i wish you all the blessed with your project =)
Thank you Leila,

Thank you for the advice about fruit tree seeds – I need to be more careful – I did not know they were that sensitive.

Just to repeat (and remind myself) what has been stated previously – the objective of this project is to identify trees and shrubs, that once placed in the ground or in clay seed balls, will sprout from seed and will grow and survive in zones 8 and above, without any human assistance – NONE. They need to grow on barren land – no ground cover, and on very poor soil or rocky areas.

Our brutal summers kill even what I thought were the hardiest trees; trees like pine and black locust may sprout, but by early July they usually die - so we need to ID the ones that can survive, and use them to build ground cover and regenerate the soil.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Thank you Leila,

Thank you for the advice about fruit tree seeds – I need to be more careful – I did not know they were that sensitive.

Just to repeat (and remind myself) what has been stated previously – the objective of this project is to identify trees and shrubs, that once placed in the ground or in clay seed balls, will sprout from seed and will grow and survive in zones 8 and above, without any human assistance – NONE. They need to grow on barren land – no ground cover, and on very poor soil or rocky areas.

Our brutal summers kill even what I thought were the hardiest trees; trees like pine and black locust may sprout, but by early July they usually die - so we need to ID the ones that can survive, and use them to build ground cover and regenerate the soil.

Kostas


yes fruit tree seeds are pretty delicate and need a lot of moisture, at first.
i am more with the method of baby it and establish it for a couple months ---> a year, then plant them out to go feral and survive or not.
not to say you should be, but i think it greatly increases success, because the bigger trees can handle more drought.

heres some other suggestions then
madrone and manzita - i dont know if you have these species there but here they do very well in zone 8 hot and dry summer condition. while not many humans will go for the berries, they are a good food for wildlife. not only that they are so lovely, their curvy twisting branches, and seem to grow fine with little to no water once established.

ceanothus, mountain lilac, deer brush - another wildlife food plant, beautiful, shade and drought tolerant, nitrogen fixer.

and another vote for berries of all kinds, though would be better to get transplants of roots.
I've recently read the story "the man who planted trees" and thought at the time what a wonderful thing it would be if someone were to actually do this. And here you are, doing it. Fantastic. Perhaps in five years when some of these trees are a decent size things like black locust might survive better. A bit of microclimate does wonders. My block was bare when I bought it so I planted hardy trees and shrubs. Now, after 8 years, I can plant less hardy trees and shrubs and they grow happily in the existing mini-forest.
Good luck with this amazing project.
You are absolutely right about the micro climate Ray. I certainly hope that this will be the case.

Unfortunately Ray I am not the man who planted trees - we will need to find inspiration elsewhere - I am not the one.

Unfortunately Leila we cannot baby these trees - there are to many of them and to far from roads. I have been thinking about your suggestion of growing blueberries in the middle of the pines. Do you know if the blueberries will grow by seed in high elevations (3,000 feet and above ?). They are certainly great food for humans and I am sure for animals.

I just started incorporating cactus pads into my diet - I hope/think I will love them. I planted them around the perimeter of my farm to create an edible fence, and they are growing fast.

Kostas

Hi Konstantinos,

Do you know if the soil is acidic? Blueberries need acidic soil to do well. If not consider Sakatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) which do not require acidic soil. What I am not sure of if is the climate in your region might be a factor.

I know in Mexico they eat "nopales" or cactus pads. I have never had them, are your cactus the same? How do you cook them and how do they taste?
Hello JD,

We are talking about a typical pine forest at 1100 meter elevation-I assume the soil is acidic. I will try planting a few blueberry shrubs in the forest to see how they do and also try seeds to see what happens. It would help if others try it on other parts of the world to see what happens

I just started eating nopales - the ones we have here are a cold climate variety with small cactus pears. The 1st meal I cooked had a boiled potato, some black beans and a cactus pad - I was tired and very hungry, so they tasted great.

Since its free food and nutritious, I will start eating it.

Kostas
it's very difficult to start blueberries from seed. any berry from seed i have found difficult to start, and i am pretty good at starting things from seed generally. i have managed to pull it off and start some berries from seed, only to not have them make it from tiny plants to something established, and not many from a lot of seed. they are positively photoblastic, they need light to germinate.

to get blueberries and other berries going good you would probably need to have pieces of roots, or small plants. if you knew someone who already has some established, gardeners are usually generous sorts and you could try to get a lot of root pieces.

and yeah they should grow that high up. i am up a bit in elevation, almost 2,000 ft and have blueberries growing well among pines and firs. theres also tons of berries growing wild, lots of native raspberries, black cap, wild strawberries, thimble berries, gooseberry and currants, and lower and higher up in elevation two kinds of elderberries. mountain cranberries might also grow where you re at, not the common cranberry, its much hardier and less fussy about water.

actually it sounds like you are in a very similar climate to where i live, even tho its so far away. mountain elevation, hot dry summers, cold winter (zone 8 ). what really helps us here is the rivers, thats where one can find the most diverse and interesting plant life, along all the major rivers. this and the springs and water underground helps with the wild, non irrigated, plants and trees. we usually get a lot of nice rains in the winter, sometimes snow, none in the summer, a "Mediterranean" climate ish.

here theres lots of old abandoned homesteads that are now part of the national forest and where you can go and gather food, its pretty awesome that way. well not so cool that they kicked everyone out, but cool that thats available for harvest. lots of people lived here a long time ago and planted tons of fruit trees, as well as there is soooooo many interesting medicinal and edible plants here, stuff that doesnt grow anywhere else, as well as all the cultivated plants people planted and then left to go feral. even left animals to go wild, theres an area where the horses that were left long ago went feral and now live on the mountains roaming free in their own tribe =)

theres only a few thousand people in hundreds of miles of forest, in every direction.

theres a couple of places i go where the old fruit trees are still growing strong, though they get banged up and kinda crazy being wild, branches half torn off from animals eating them or storms. one of my friends and i took to going out to some of these places and doing some intense pruning of the productive trees, gathering leaves and even hauling in some mulch, and mulching all the old feral fruit trees. its national forest land so it could be weird, but on the rare occasion someone has seen us they have been really psyched on what we were doing, taking care of the forest. people here generally get to use and harvest from the forest, tho if you are being weird someone will probably be a stickler for permits or something, generally people will not bother you and think its cool if you gather from the forest.

i plan on bringing out some cool stuff to one spot in particular, plants that i am going to baby and get them well established and then add in there to make it or break it on their own. i sort of think of it as my extended public garden, and even cooler that there probably a dozen or more people who look at it the same way. actually people even call it the "wild community garden" and at certain times of years its hopping with people, well that being like more than 4 people occasionally converge on the spot, i have run into the few people i know around this area.

on that spot and the surrounding clearings near by- theres tons of hazelnuts, walnuts, apples, plums, cherries, pears, oregon grape everywhere (mahonia), wild native grapes, cultivated grapes gone wild, persimmons, roses, gooseberries, and of course raspberries, black caps, thimbleberries, blackberries, and wild strawberries.

ah i might be babbling here, but theres some point in all that =) maybe
What an interesting situation Leila - it sounds like an ideal forest - people animal fruit trees !!!
Konstantinos, I am very interested in your project. Congratulations for getting out there and doing it.

I own 1,3 hectares in the mountains west of the city of Madrid (Spain). Climate is Csa. It's a continental mediterranean climate, meaning we get the long, dry, hot summers but also the long, cold, wet winters (about 850 mm of rain a year). Spring and fall might last for two weeks in a good year. Most native vegetation is dormant during winter *and* summer. Growth periods are spring and fall. Temperatures can vary 20 ºC from day to night *on the same calendar day*. The ecosystem is extremely fragile and most of the land is progressing fast towards deserification. My land has almost no top soil. The mother rock is visible in many places. The elevation is 1.000 m aprox.

We are lucky in that we have a natural water line (within a quism in the rocks) that runs through the land as well as what I think could be a type 1 valley (as defined by Yeoman) that leads to a small depression where water accumulates in the winter. Frogs live there. The water line dries in summer but we have undergrown deposits amounting to about 30.000 liters.

We have defined one extensive zone 5 and one tiny one around the frog ecosystem, although that might change if can figure out how to use the frog area without disturbing the frogs. There is a long history of use of these natural phenomena, which are found in the area, so we might try that.

The zones 5 countains the best of the land: evergreen oak, native bulbs and bushes, a beauty. Elsewhere, in the barren land, I want to have two food forests, one to feed humans and another to feed chickens. I cannot the trees I want right away, as I cannot water them and the wind would eat them. So, I am planning to plant something hardy that will prepare the ground for the other trees.

I was thinking of planting honey locust and similar leguminose trees from seed (that I've collected from successful trees in the area), as well as native leguminose brushes on countour (maybe with rock lines on countour to help soften erosion and provide a better environment for the seeds). Those would be cut eventually (the native bushes would die in the shade ayway). I wonder why you didn't go that route.

Also, do you have lots of wind in your plantation areas? I wonder how almond trees would do as a wind break. My mature almond trees are supported with artificial means (the previous owner did that) and are still tilted because of the wind.

Again, great project. I'll keep coming to this thread to see how it's doing.
Cheers,
Lucía

Thank You for your post Lucia.

It would be good to see some photographs of the land you are working with and to let us know the progress of your seeding/planting projects so we can learn from your experiences.

I tried honey locust trees from seeds - they do not germinate easily in my area - I had to scarify the seeds before they would germinate _ I have a 4 or 5 growing on my farm - they are about a meter high.

I do not have seeding project areas with high winds so I do not know how the almond trees will behave, but I assume anything grown from seed will adjust to the conditions and grow straight up without any assistance - hopefully.

If you will plant almonds apricots, apples, wild pears or Laburnum seeds this winter, keep us posted with updates next summer on how things are progressing.

Kostas
Hi Konstantinos,

I will try to upload pictures.

Honey locust seeds does no germinate well anywhere because they are designed to go though the digestive track of animals first. I plan to scarify the seeds. How old are your 1 m high trees? Do you water them?

I have been given a bag of almonds from a sweet almond tree of a friends and also a bag of "pexegos", a typ of small peach that grows semi wild in coastal Norther Spain. The climate is very different, but I have placed a few to see how they do (if the do anything is more likely).

I plan to start plating in the fall and I'll keep you guys posted.

Cheers,
Lucía

Hello Lucia,

The honey locust I have are around 3 - 4 years old - if I recall properly I watered them the 1st year and may have added some water in the 2nd as the need arose.

If you want to scarify a lot of honey locust seeds (hundreds) you can try using a small food blender (with the sharp blades at the bottom) - throw a hand full of seeds in, about 3 cm high, and add enough water to cover the seeds well. Turn on the blender and run for a minute or two. Some of the seeds will be cut by the blades and damaged - throw them out. The rest put in water for 2 - 3 days. The ones that were scarified successfully will soak water and expand - these can be planted in pots or in the soil. The ones that did not expand put in the blender again. It's a lot easier than hand scarifying.

How long do pexegos live? How tall do they grow? Do they self germinate in the wild?

Kostas
Hi Konstantinos,

thanks for the tip for scarifying honey locust seeds. I saw that in the thread and was thinking of using it.

I am not very familiar with pexegos but I do think they reproduce in the wild. There are many wild or semi wild versions of fruit trees in coastal northern Spain: apples, pears, plums, peach (pexegos), etc. Most have their own local names, like pexegos. They are all considered edible, even if the fruit of some trees is best used for cooking, but old people will eat even some fruit I would consider only for cooking, so it depends on the taster

I do not know how old they live, but a wild plum in my grandmother's garden is at about 30 years old and still going strong. The plums are small, rounded and red, with a tough skin and sweet, watery fesh inside. It's too acid for modern taste, but my grandmother eats them raw.

I believe they are commercial fruit that seeds unadvertently. My grandmother's land is so fertile that we had to make a rule that no fruit is to be thrown in the land after eating: we had small trees everywhere. My grandmother picked some old, dry stakes from a dumpster to tutor roses and they took. Now she has a lilac walk. The roses all died.

My land is a far cry from that

Cheers,
Lucía
Reforestation - what kind of a forest can we have?

What kind of a forest do we want - what type of trees.

When trying to reforest arid zones and degraded we should grow what the land wants and can grow. Determining what the land wants to grow is probably more than half the battle.

We need to establish ground cover, lower the ground temperature of the scorching days of summer (by providing a ground cover) and to create new top soil and conditions, that will allow us in due to time to plant any trees shrubs or plants we want.

Forestry officials in my country and in many other countries (as far as I know) define a forest as being made of pine trees, fir trees, cypress trees and some robinia pseudoacacia thrown in - but it's the pine trees that make up the bulk of the new trees planted.

Due to climate change we no longer get the summer rains we once used to get (this year was unusual - we got lots of rain), and most of the above mentioned trees planted, do not survive the 1st summer unless watered. Watering is cost prohibitive and in many cases impossible to accomplish.

Two articles came to my attention recently that in a sense redefine what a forest can be or what it should be.

The first is "The fruit Forests of Kyrgyzstan" by Eliza Greenman, October 11, 2013.
See http://foggyridgecider.com/blog/elizainkyrgyzstan/
This article describes a 1.6 million acre forest of walnuts and fruit trees that people domestic animals and wild animals use.

The 2nd article is "A Forest of Apples" by Larry Rettig dated February 3, 2011.
See http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3125/#b

This article describes an area in Kazakhstan that is considered the fatherland of apples - hundreds of varieties of apples grow wild, without any care. No one prunes, fertilizes or sprays them, and they grow very healthy apples.

My efforts to reforest large areas by seed, as previously discussed in this thread, have pointed me to almonds, apricots, prickly pear cactuses and recently to apples, wild pears and laburnum anagyroides (this needs further checking).

The conifers and acacia trees that are the favorites of the forestry officials have not done well at all - their seeds placed in the ground, will often sprout in the spring, but do not make it past the hot dry months of July and August. I have seen many wither away and dry up in August.

I am sure we may be able to grow the conifers and acacia trees once a ground cover is established and moisture and shade is by provided by the ground cover trees.

The other question is how do we protect the existing pine/conifer forests from diseases and fires - fires I am told can be good for the land, but if the same area is burned again and again, the pine trees will not re grow again (seeds are lost) and the land is left without trees, exposed to the sun.

We will try to see if the almonds etc will grow and thrive in the cover of the conifer forests. If the pine forests are converted to fruit, nut and pine forests, then all of us will have more reasons to protect these forests, and they may not be so susceptible to disease and fires.

These are some thoughts, and we should discuss what kind of a forest we want, or can have.

Kostas
(1 like)
I love this discussion. I just love to see projects like this and what can be discovered through experimenting.

Have you planted any nitrogen fixing trees or bushes? I see towards the end of the thread you mention maybe putting in honey locust trees.

If you have brutal sun and drought then my understand is that you would need some trees to give a bit of shade and nurse the other trees along until they are a few
years older - maybe 7-10 years old.

I'm also in San Diego in a mediterrean climate. The drought here is terrible this year and we've had the hottest winter, spring and summer I ever remember

Now that I'm looking at all my own fruit trees, I realize that I made a big mistake by not planting some tipuana tipu, locust, palo verde or something to help them out.

Sheri
(1 like)
Hello Sheri,

I just saw your post.

The only nitrogen fixer that has worked for me so far is the Laburnum.

We have very similar climates - the San Diego area is beautiful, but lacks trees cover - you face the same challenges we face - maybe we can exchange experiences on the subject - I am not familiar at all with the trees you mentioned - tipuana tipu and palo verde.

I think you are right about fruit trees benefiting from the presence of other trees nearby - instead of competition for resources, when trees are close together they support each other during the hot summers and throughout the year.

I guess what we are trying to do is not so much reforestation, but soil building and improvement.

Kostas
(1 like)
HI Kostas,

I am not familiar with Laburnum. I'll look it up.

I was told by someone who has a lot of experience that when he plants Mangos here that he always plants them with a cassia bush/tree. They look like a bush but they can
get tall as in 25 feet. I'll have to take a picture. I have a small one here and at the site with the mangos, they have a 25' one.

I've noticed that my strawberry plants are a lot greener when they are planted next to a nitrogen fixing bush like sweet pea. I believe that has to do
with the nitrogen - the strawberry plants just look lusher and healthier too.

Also have you planted Comfrey by any of the fruit trees? My comfrey has taken a lot of abuse (I'm very stingy with water and it still grew!) Great nutrient accumulator.

Only takes a very small amount of root

Sheri
Hello Sheri,

I have been meaning to try grow comfrey for some time - I have not gotten around to it - if it grows in San Diego it will probably grow here also.

The golden rain tree seems to like to grow on my farm, and where it grows it seems to help the other trees in the area.

I have a difficult subsoil - the existing topsoil is anywhere from 0 to 24 inches. Underneath that is a lime, like rock, that is very difficult to penetrate and break.

Some trees like the golden rain tree and the olive trees seem to go through it easily. I think the other trees in the area use the openings made by the golden rain tree to also penetrate this rock.

Someday I may bring in machinery and open an area just to see what happens.

It's not easy to understand what is going on - we are just guessing.

Please let me know how tipuana tipu and palo verde do if planted from seed, and left alone, without watering.

Kostas
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Kathy Burns-Millyard wrote:I spread probably 100 olives around the start of the year at my place. I initially tried planting to see if I could get a grove started but critters came along and dug up every single spot. After that I just tossed them around and hoped. We've had a floods since then so I don't know if they all washed away. I expect to keep watching for sprouts for years just in case I got lucky


Hi Kathy, olive trees reproduction is easy by little cuttings, about 6"length cuttings, leaving the top three leaves, they need good irrigation the firsts weeks but once they root they are tough, also they root easy by air layering and you can get fairly big rooted olive trees in 2 or 3 months.

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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Very interesting that you mentioned figs Doug - this month I have experimented with figs - on half of my farm, I tossed 25 or so dried figs, hoping that ants will collect the seeds and distribute them around the land, and hopefully fig trees will grow - ants are a very powerful force - I do not know how we can harness some of this force or work with this giant force of nature. On the other half of the farm, I planted 25 figs in the ground, to see if they can sprout and survive without care. I am not very optimistic on fig trees though - we will see.


fig trees are easy to root by cuttings get some cuttings in winter, plant them, and they will root in spring.
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Hi,

I haven't planted Palo verde from seed - just was given one from a friend. The Guaje (Leucaena leucocephala) seeds are growing well in a small pot. I need to transplant them soon to a larger pot or into the ground. I had to scarify it for them to grow.

I had tried Tipuana Tipu and got a few seedlings to grow last year but planted them when they were too small and they were eaten

Have you tried Pinto Peanut? I read a very interesting article on it from Nutri-tech Solutions in Australia

2. If you are an orchardist, dairy farmer or viticulturist and you live in a frost-free zone, you need to know about Pinto Peanut. This is a truly amazing cover crop. It produces a dense, yellow-flowered ground cover that only grows a few inches tall. It easily outcompetes weeds and requires no maintenance. Research at the Alstonville Tropical Fruit Research centre in Northern NSW several years back showed that there is no competition with the tree crop for moisture. Like all legumes, the Pinto Peanut delivers a significant supply of nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus, but this legume is unique in that it also delivers potassium. It appears that the deep-rooted legume mines potassium and delivers it to the feeder roots of the tree (in the top six inches). This was not just a token supply. One of the soils tested revealed a threefold increase in potassium just two years after the legume had been introduced. Potassium is the most expensive major mineral, so this is a huge cost-saving benefit. The legume is grown from seed, but once you have it established you just take cuttings and root them in a bucket to spread this little beauty everywhere (and believe me you will want to do this). During a seminar tour of Hawaii, I visited an iconic, mixed-species orchard where the botanist in control had Pinto Peanut on every available square metre of land. He even had several buckets full of cuttings rooting in water so he could replace his front lawn with this beautiful ground cover.
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There is a TED talk on reforestation by Allan Savory. He suggests that it is not just the planting of trees but a need for livestock with planned grazing (moving from one area to another in an organized way to mimic nature) to create a groundcover that prevents oxidization of plants or the need for burning. It will also create a carbon storage method. Pretty amazing stuff.
Hullo folks

Really interesting thread.
I live in South Australia
Australia has areas of thin topsoil too
It also has areas of desert - lots.
I live in an area that has rain and hard frost in the winter
in the summer it can be +40C hot!
and no rain for ages.

Where farms have been deserted and left almond trees do survive
another tree that is on the road sides is the quince
another bush i have seen on the roadside in deserty areas is the wild rose if you can stand the prickles and like to cook with rosehips
Olives definitely do grow from seed and are a weed on steep slopes here where there are native parks.
According to stuff online grapes do seem to be reasonable at heat but I have not really tried myself yet
Yes I have a pomegranate that is happy in all seasons, i am not good at using the fruit so have to get better at that - i have seen a nice tabouli with pomegranate in.
I don't know if the pistachios will do ok here with the frost and heat. I saw some plants get frost burnt in Wagga Wagga but perhaps they grew back afterwards.
I love the nuts so it would be great if they do

The blue oak sounds very interesting. How big does it get?
I wonder if someone sells the seeds.
I would be interested if there is.

I will send you best apricot seeds from my 19 yr old grew from seed apricot tree for sweet almond organic seeds tree grown from seed. 801-808-4424
hi i think i do not have the right soil for the blue oak
but thanks for the thread it has me thinking =)

i met a chap at the local community garden who is sprouting medjool dates to grow trees
he puts them in the hot car to help them germinate
that might be something useful as a dryland tree
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Hello everyone - very interesting comments.

There is an interesting article about the Rise and Fall of the Mayan empire.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/15nov_maya/

Tom Sever the NASA archaeologist argues that deforestation and the subsequent droughts caused the fall of that civilization.

Masanobu Fukuoka, San wrote that rains come from the ground not from the sky - for a long time I doubted this statement, but Tom Sever does a great job of explaining why that is the case.

If we plant billions of trees then hopefully the rains will come in dry areas.

Rachel, Alan's Savory's suggestion will probably be useful to reforest areas like the central valley desert of California - the present agriculture system there, that depends on large amounts of ground water cannot continue. All of Southern and middle California appears to be in trouble, and unless billions of trees are planted, the rains will not come and stay.

The Pinto Peanut sounds interesting Sheri, and it would be good if its introduced in areas where there is no danger of frost. It sounds like a great way to improve the soil.

Janet the quince tree is a great idea - I will be planting some seeds (150 or so I hope) this year to see how they do - I will let you know. It would be great if it behaves like the other seeds mentioned in this thread. The wild rose is also a possibility - I will see if I can get seeds.

Thank You

Kostas
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