I planted some cypress trees on my property last weekend which is in the Carrizo Plain, a semi-arid 2000 ft elevation location in central California. Temperature extremes are around 5 degrees F up to 100-110 F. The higher elevation means some frosts exist in spring. Most of the Carrizo Plain is open grass land. Some of it is scattered with some tumbleweeds and some bush lupine and its cousin a plant looks like lupine but with creamy yellow flowers. My property has an abundance of the tumbleweeds. It is also near dead center of the Carrizo Plain and I have a sneaking suspicion that due to the amount of standing water I witnessed this last winter in the area, that the water table has to be close to the surface. I'm guessing around 30 feet because last year before I got started with anything I dug a few holes. This was in October or November. I went down 2 feet. The soil on top was bone dry. At 2 feet it was already moist. I could take some in my hand and squeeze it and it would compress and become rock hard and then I felt the moisture at the surface. After exposed to the air for a while though, the soil I dug up dried out but the hole remained moist. Recently I dug some more holes in anticipation of a foundation for a raised shed (don't want it to be flooded with standing water). Those holes have been exposed during the first dry part of our season and they are still moist down below, but the first 6 inches or so are now bone dry which is why the grass and wildflowers are dying or dead.
Also the soil has a lot of alkalinity.
I've talked some with some neighbors and most of them gave up growing anything. Particularly trees. So since I had my own initial upset with my pomegranates and figs I decided I do need wind break and shade and privacy, so I'm going to plant something evergreen. I weighed and balanced everything.. and what I came up with for my first trees was Arizona Cypress. It takes the most heat of any evergreen and also the most drought tolerant. I don't want big Junipers because they suck all the water out of the ground with their thirsty appetite. Arizona Cypress only sip a little bit. Also they add acidity to the soil so in my case this will be a benefit I believe. This is how it's all shaping in my mind. But I don't want to get started promoting monoculture, so I want to find some symbiotic trees with the Cypress.
In a guess I planted a Pine tree from Afghanistan next to several of the Cypress because I have noticed that Pines will grow up close to Cypress in the wild. But I'm not sure if that was the best idea or not.
So, what should I plant interspersed with more Cypress trees? I'd like to plant some more trees this weekend. I can get about 10 more of those Cypress trees from local sources. I'd like to find 10 more trees that are something other than Cypress. And I appreciate any input from y'all!
Joined: Nov 07, 2010
I was hoping someone would have responded. I feel lost! I am hoping I'm not making a big mistake planting Arizona Cypress trees (Blue Ice, Blue Smooth). I sure love Monterey Cypress trees, and I would love to plant them in favor of Eucalyptus in the coastal areas but they won't do well in the hot arid climate of the east county summers. The soil PH is really whacked out there. I'm almost resigning myself to doing hugelkulture raised bed gardening in containers instead of grow veggies in the soil on my property. There are salt crystals forming in patches all over the land out there. So in a way I feel like if I can get any tree at all to grow, I am doing the land justice. I read posts by a lot of people, Paul Wheaten included, where there's all this griping and moaning over Pines and Junipers and Cedars. But I think Paul said there's one good Pine because you get lumber out of it. Okay, well, all things considered, I will be getting wind break from Arizona Cypress, I will be getting privacy too. And it will be green year round. Positive positive positive. No negatives yet. It will likely sweeten the soil instead of make it acidic because the PH is so alkaline anything acidic will benefit it. Arizona Cypress are one of the few Cypress varieties that have a strong odor. And I love that smell. It will be nice to have my tiny house surrounded by them so I can smell the odor as I sleep with the windows open.
Well, if I'm making a huge mistake, I hope someone will tell me sooner than later because I'm planning to plant more trees and more trees and more trees. I just got an irrigation system worked out. I haul my water in large tank. Hook up to drip feed system minus emitters. Gravity feed from my truck bed. Works very nice. Going to plant more.