I just popped up to report that most of the 130 trees we planted in the fall have died from a very cold and dry winter followed by a very hot and dry spring. We planted forestry quality 1 year old trees of local species (from local seed). The few almond trees that sprouted from seed from our old almond trees (wonderful almonds) have also died from the lack of water. We are only watering the new trees in zone 1 (twice a week) and have left the rest to their own devices. So far, only P. terebinthus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistacia_terebinthus
) seems to be surviving in non watered areas.
We had to start watering the kitchen garden in May this year. Chances are we won't make it to the next rains in September/October with our water reserves (27K liters). This only watering selected plants in zone 1.
It's discouraging, but I refuse to be discouraged!!
On a happier note, the whole of our land is working on succession after we removed grazing animals (and grass cutting machinery) from it 3 years ago. Both plant and animal species have diversified and we are seeing new plants everyday, lots of then biannuals and short lived perennials. We also have lots of new insects, specially butterflies, and a family of lizards has moved it. In the spring we also saw taupes.
My strategy for next fall will be to try pioneer trees and shrubs instead of local forest trees (that need shade when they are young) as well as to increase the water stores, since we do have plenty of water in the winter.
I'll keep you posted.