Jeff Hodgins wrote:I'm not sure of your soil type but if it's very permiable you can dig very big holes (2 feet wide 3 feet deep with straight sides) and plant the tree in it. The sides block wind and sun conserving water. I like to refer to these holes as mandalas because in the Vedas or some Hindu text it says that the Kriva is at the center of each Mandala. Or the entrance to the underworld is at the center of each circle.
Chris Wang wrote:I would plant some trees in cages to start with. I get very good success planting (seed or saplings) in cages and literally 0% survival without cages or other exclusion. While controversial on this forum, I sometimes use fertilizer to help plants establish quickly.
Check out this thread, if you havn't already. It is a different climate, but much of it will be useful. https://permies.com/t/14353/Reforestation-Growing-trees-arid-barren
Nicola Stachurski wrote:I am interested too.
I live in an Australian subtropical area that has lost it's Wet Season over the last decade. That means it is now arid- though I doubt many locals would agree.
The last few years have been a bit dry, but it was much worse in the early 2000's and many other times in history. While it is possible that a new weather pattern may be starting, the long term trends show it is actually wetter and hotter now.
Nicola Stachurski wrote:I am interested too.
I live in an Australian subtropical area that has lost it's Wet Season over the last decade. That means it is now arid- though I doubt many locals would agree. There is always one sizeable flood event every year, it's just that all the other summer storms seem to have disappeared. Being a gardener and a greenie, I've been watching more closely than some.
Actually, one of the signs to me is that, as I have driven around the local area. I have seen 2 dams on 2 different properties that are being excavated to make them deeper. My husband was until recently working as an excavator operator, and has had a number of jobs in the last 6 months digging out dams or installing watering troughs for stock. There are a lot of cattle and horses in this area (even dairies), but I suspect the rainfall will no longer support the same level of stocking. If the weather patterns continue in the same way, it will be interesting seeing it play out in public discussion.
Joe, I would imagine seeing a lot of improvement in vegetative cover after fencing out the horses. Has this happened?
Alex Arn wrote:Thanks for the reply, Joe. There are a lot of debris scattered around the old homestead so I will take a look when I am there in a few weeks and see if there is any wood I can use to do something similar.
Alex Arn wrote:Joe, what did you end up doing? I'm in a similar situation with a property in Northern Wyoming (10 inches a year) and I'm curious what worked for you and what didn't.
Mark Kissinger wrote:Generally speaking, and depending on your terrain, starting high can mean smaller installations at first, from which you can determine the downstream effects, before starting your next round of "adjustments", which can tend to grow in size as you work your way down the slope.
You are on the right track...I'd say...
Mark Kissinger wrote:You might also consider the non-tree species that you might seed (grasses & shrubs) which can provide the edges of vegetation to provide ground cover and habitat while the trees become established. Diversity equals ecological strength.
Encourage the "human-friendly" pioneer species to cover any available niche as quickly as possible, by seeding barren areas with human-friendly pioneer species, especially as you establish your swales and cause the accompanying disruption of the existing soil horizons. Then plant succession will generally take hold to provide biological yields that suit the climate and terrain.
Determine if your intent with the property is to restore an ecological "natural" order, or to create a "human-friendly" ecological order (Which Permaculture Zone (s) are your designing for as your goal?)
I follow this thread with interest, as I am preparing to do the same on my high-desert open range land ecological regime property.
Same problems, different amounts of water.
Mark Kissinger wrote:Or you could start out as high on your slope and install small strategically located seed fields, using local materials and small-scale rain-gathering methods..
Start small and observe the results.
The least effort necessary to get started, leaving the expensive stuff until more planning can be done.
Devin Lavign wrote:If you have enough rock on your land, you might want to install check dams in the gullies.
Devin Lavign wrote:You mentioned not having clay to retain water.
kevin stewart wrote:Hi
What about critters eating all those seeds?
At my place the seeds would not last the night. One year I walked around with sunflower and bean seeds in my pockets. Occasionally I would stop and kick a shallow hole in the ground and drop some seeds in. The next day I would see bean seeds dug up but the sunflower seeds were gone.
The same year I dug spade wide swales. I tossed a collection of bean and wild bird seed, just to see something grow. If I left the smallest seeds uncovered too long the ants were carting them off.
Michael Cox wrote:I'll second the calls to look at the water harvesting and potential for earthworks. If you get this right all your later work will be made much easier - your trees will establish better, you'll build fertile soil and you'll prevent erosion.
I don't think hugelkulture is appropriate in your situation - it needs resources that you don't have available on site - but you might consider it for small specialised areas.
Check dams and gabions will help in some of the eroding gullies, but you also need to address the surface run off from higher up the slopes. On contour swales, starting at the top of the hills would be a good start. These take time to get right, both for the earth moving and for laying them out properly on contour in the first place.
However you don't need to get the whole thing done in one go. I would pick a priority area and run some experiments for a year, then see what works for you.