I've been researching trees I want to import to the property I'm trying to develop but just had an idea to just help what's already there. There's Sonoran Scrub Oaks all over the place on the hill. They're these really gnarly looking bushes with spiny leaves, but they're very very important to all the fauna and flora in my area. A lot of quail and scrub jays live in them, and a lot of smaller plants depend on them for shade and mulch. I read that they produce acorns when there's enough moisture, which I've never really seen. I'm guessing most the reproduction has been through asexual through the rhizomes.
What's scaring me is a lot of them look really dried out right now. They all look diseased, and I've seen it in scrub oaks as far as 25 miles away from where I'm at.
Anyway, is there a way I could mulch my native bushes to get them more water? The property was overgrazed by ranching for about 100 years, so the soil is very eroded and compacted, even where the scrub oaks reside. Is there a good guide that could explain how to go about mulching the established shrubs with fruition pits or something to make the ground more permeable around them so they can get more water? If I make what's already there more lush, it could potentially attract more birds to eat insects around the garden and to fertilize the property. I'm thinking, during the right season, I could eat some of the quail too. Strengthened thickets will make it easier for them to hide from coyotes too so that their population remains higher for me to use some of them as a food source.
An increase in acorn production from the scrub oaks could also be a potential food staple for me and the local birds and squirrels as well. I read somewhere you have to prep them a certain way for them to be non-toxic though. I'll have to look into it.
Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
You might want to look into water harvesting earthworks: http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/ We've been using low mounds of juniper branches on contour to slow runoff around native oaks and other trees.
Acorns need to be leached of tannic acid before they can be eaten by humans, otherwise there can be damage to your liver or kidneys (sorry, can't remember which!). There's a lot of information about this on the internet if you search around. I used the boiling water bath method and did not leach mine quite enough.