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Author Topic: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?  (Read 1668 times)

barath

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Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« on: May 04, 2018, 06:52:50 PM »
I may soon have a chance to plant out a reasonable sized (maybe 1/3 acre or more) hillside in SoCal that's currently bare dirt, probably pretty nutrient poor.  It's about 15 miles inland in LA, SSW-facing, Zone 10b/11a.  The thing is, there's no irrigation and except for establishment, there probably never will be.  The hill is probably 10% grade, +/- 5% in parts.  Rainfall is 5-20 inches a year, in the winter.

I'm wondering what folks think might be good trees to put in.  (I have some ideas but I kind of want to hear your opinions before biasing the discussion.)  I figure there might be some trees or plants that are more short term, for the sake of providing shade and getting things established, and those short-term plantings don't have to be particularly tasty.  I also figure some plantings might be good for keeping the soil in place and helping direct waterflows into the soil, and for building up organic matter.  I hope to get lots of tree trimmings delivered for mulch, but mulching that size of hillside will take time.

I'd especially love ideas from folks who live in similar climates elsewhere in the world, because it's nice to learn about techniques and species that have worked for you that we might not have tried here in California.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 06:58:12 PM by barath »

Goyo626

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 01:26:17 AM »
Maybe pomegrantes? Possibly opuntia (nopales) the prickly pear is decent fruit, really refreshing, but nothing special. Im about 20 mi inland from downtown LA and mature tropical guavas trees seem to be very drought tolerant. Young trees need to be watered.

Its hard to pick no irrigation trees because we get all our rain in winter/early spring and we usually dont get rain in the summer months.


pineislander

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 06:37:54 AM »
I'm not familiar with your area species but just looking at the wide view you need something very hardy suited to a desert. You might consider looking into the Groasis Waterboxx for establishment.
https://www.groasis.com/en

Look into other water saving tech like wind/shade breaks, pioneer species for on site soil building, fireproofing, it sounds like this would be unattended so consider pest control fencing. There are many people involved in tech for this subject, search youtube for "Desert Greening" to see the action.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=desert+greening



barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 10:29:56 AM »
Maybe pomegrantes? Possibly opuntia (nopales) the prickly pear is decent fruit, really refreshing, but nothing special. Im about 20 mi inland from downtown LA and mature tropical guavas trees seem to be very drought tolerant. Young trees need to be watered.

Its hard to pick no irrigation trees because we get all our rain in winter/early spring and we usually dont get rain in the summer months.

Ah, good idea.  Which cactus fruits give the best yield and taste good?  Because in general they seem pretty low yielding, but maybe I'm not really being fair to them.

Guavas and pomegranate are definitely good options.

barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 10:30:44 AM »
I'm not familiar with your area species but just looking at the wide view you need something very hardy suited to a desert. You might consider looking into the Groasis Waterboxx for establishment.
https://www.groasis.com/en

Look into other water saving tech like wind/shade breaks, pioneer species for on site soil building, fireproofing, it sounds like this would be unattended so consider pest control fencing. There are many people involved in tech for this subject, search youtube for "Desert Greening" to see the action.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=desert+greening

You know, I tried the goasis waterboxx once and it didn't really work for me, but maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance.  The avocado seedling I planted in it died.

spaugh

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 10:42:53 AM »
Prickly pear and peruvian apple cactus.  Pom may do OK but they really need at least a couple supplemental waterings during the hot months. 
Brad Spaugh

Bush2Beach

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 10:58:14 AM »
Nopales and more Nopales. There is a number of good Opuntia threads and access to good pads in So Cal.
An excellent fruit not to be overlooked on the flavor or commercial scale.

spaugh

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2018, 12:15:50 PM »
Just beware when planting opuntia it is a prolific grower and can become quite overgrown and invasive.  The stuff is growing wild all over the place down here.  Like acres and acres of invasive plants taking over hillsides. 
Brad Spaugh

barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 12:35:41 PM »
How do you guys process prickly pear?  Dealing with the glochids is a pain and I'm wondering if there are better ways to make it less of a hassle.  (I've seen the videos of people using blowtorches but that seems like a different kind of hassle.)

spaugh

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2018, 01:04:41 PM »
If you get the right type they don't have much of any spikes.
Brad Spaugh

Bush2Beach

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2018, 10:53:12 PM »
Cut off the top where all the concentrated glochids are and then slice in half. The fruit then peels easily from the skin.
Coyote brush is also a nice companion plant as you can use it to wipe off the glochids while the fruit is on the plant even .

barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 11:32:00 PM »
Cut off the top where all the concentrated glochids are and then slice in half. The fruit then peels easily from the skin.
Coyote brush is also a nice companion plant as you can use it to wipe off the glochids while the fruit is on the plant even .

Nice technique!

dmwong93

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2018, 07:26:31 PM »
Maybe jujubes, though need water in beginning years I think.

barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2018, 07:29:36 PM »
Maybe jujubes, though need water in beginning years I think.

Great!  I've been wondering about including jujubes.

dmwong93

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 03:11:25 PM »
Maybe jujubes, though need water in beginning years I think.

Great!  I've been wondering about including jujubes.

Also be careful, jujubes tend to send sprouts from roots that have thorns. Very painful if caught as thorns hook downwards.

greenman62

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2018, 12:00:22 PM »
Carob might be a good choice.
i have one growing in a raised bed. its very drought tolerant.
Jujube and its relatives.
there are several kinds, though the fruit is best with the Chinese and Indian types.
all are  drought tolerant, some more than others.
Ziziphus oenopolia is one
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/tropical-fruit-s-z/

honey locust is drought tolerant.
several acacias and mimosa with edible seeds and flowers too.

there is a tall grass the puts out deep roots.

grasses and/or wildflowers could hold the soil
and have cacti, carob and jujube for fruit.

native prairie seeds...
http://www.seedsource.com/catalog/

KarenRei

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 12:30:40 PM »
If you want to get fast growth in a drought-prone area of poor soil with no shade, both to provide shade and organic matter, I don't think you could beat moringa.  It doesn't take freezes, but if you're 10b/11a you shouldn't get them.  In good conditions it can put on half a dozen meters per year.  Even in poor conditions like yours (you're at the lower end of its annual precipitation range) it should give you dappled shade and organic matter pretty fast. It can take almost any soil, and it doesn't need to be deep. It's native to monsoonal climates, so probably no need to worry about your summer droughts.  And whenever you want to prune it back or remove plants... you get a super-nutritious vegetable.  No annoying thorns.  Not invasive (just prolific!).

That's just what comes to mind, assuming that your top priorities are establishing organic matter and shade.  If your top priorities are "tasty sweet fruit", I can dig through my db later to see what might be good options.  Just cacti alone could fill a book.... indeed, it's filled many!  There's so many interesting dry-climate full-sun drought-tolerant fruit and nut plants.  It's just that none will get established as fast as I'd expect moringa to in your area.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 07:30:00 PM by KarenRei »
Jß, Úg er a­ rŠkta su­rŠnar pl÷ntur ß ═slandi. Nei, Úg er ekki klikku­. JŠja, kannski...

barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 04:50:02 PM »
If you want to get fast growth in a drought-prone area of poor soil with no shade, both to provide shade and organic matter, I don't think you could beat moringa.  It doesn't take freezes, but if you're 10b/11a you shouldn't get them.  In good conditions it can put on half a dozen meters per year.  Even in poor conditions like yours (you're at the lower end of its annual precipitation range) it should give you dappled shade and organic matter pretty fast. It can take almost any soil, and it doesn't need to be deep. It's native to monsoonal climates, so no need to worry about your summer droughts.  And whenever you want to prune it back or remove plants... you get a super-nutritious vegetable.  No annoying thorns.  Not invasive (just prolific!).

That's just what comes to mind, assuming that your top priorities are establishing organic matter and shade.  If your top priorities are "tasty sweet fruit", I can dig through my db later to see what might be good options.  Just cacti alone could fill a book.... indeed, it's filled many!  There's so many interesting dry-climate full-sun drought-tolerant fruit and nut plants.  It's just that none will get established as fast as I'd expect moringa to in your area.

Yeah, Moringa has seemed promising.  Does it really need no irrigation in the summer?  I ask because I thought its monsoon climate was with an inverted rainfall schedule, with rain in the summer and none in the winter.

KarenRei

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 06:03:59 PM »
Yeah, Moringa has seemed promising.  Does it really need no irrigation in the summer?  I ask because I thought its monsoon climate was with an inverted rainfall schedule, with rain in the summer and none in the winter.

That is correct.  But then again, it's native to the Indian subcontinent below 1000M; it's pretty warm during the winter (dry season) there too.

But if anyone here has experience growing moringa in SoCal, I'm sure they can let you know how it goes  :)
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spaugh

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 06:23:31 PM »
I'm growing some morninga trees. They grew about 15ft from seed last summer.  That was in a raised bed with decent soil and regular watering.

 I really don't think it's going to be able to survive without water.  They start wilting if you let them dry out.  After a few months of southern cal summer without water they will probably be dead.  Maybe if you can water for the first few summers it might be established enough to limp by. 

If you just want shade then plant some CA pepper trees, jacarandas, or eucalyptus.  Those will make better shade trees and can live without irrigation.

Pomogranite is more drought tolerant and will make fruit if you can water once a month from June until November.

The rain we get down here is pretty much useless.  It tends to only rain during fall and winter when most plants are dormant.  It's even worse for a hillside.  Any heavy rains run off.  We got about 3 inches so far this year and that was before things warmed up.  Probably won't rain again until October or November at least. 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 07:02:54 PM by spaugh »
Brad Spaugh

barath

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 11:33:14 PM »
That's too bad about moringa -- I was hoping they might grow with minimal water, but I guess they're native to humid (if dry) regions, so they might not lose as much moisture over the summer in their native climate.

Jct

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2018, 11:01:29 AM »
It might be interesting to look at native Australian fruits that grow in the Outback. Not sure how'd you get samples or seeds, but some of them sound interesting and might meet your needs.
Scroll down this wiki article until you get to the Outback Australia section:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_tucker
LaVerne Manila Mango; Pixie Crunch, Honeycrisp & Gala Apple Trees; Violette De Bordeaux & Black Mission Fig; Santa Rosa Plum & Snow Queen Nectarine; Nagami Kumquat, Pixie Tangerine, Lemon, Australian Finger Lime & Washington Navel Citrus; White & Red Dragon Fruit; Miracle Berry Plant

PltdWorld

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2018, 12:19:46 AM »
Feijoa doesn't need a whole lot of water, and the two established bushes I have produce hundreds of fruit each.  It makes an attractive tree, or can be kept as a shrub.

goosteen

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2018, 12:51:58 AM »
I have heard myths of fruit trees not needing water, I just never seen it.  As someone living on a hillside about 15 miles from the ocean, the only trees I've witnessed surviving without water is Eucalyptus, pepper trees, and live oak.    Cactus like agave and prickly pear will grow too, but still look yellow and dry...  and growth is very slow, about 10% as fast as when watered.   
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 12:53:51 AM by goosteen »

BajaJohn

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Re: Trees for bare dirt Zone 10b/11a SoCal hillside?
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2018, 09:32:46 AM »
Can you build swales to help water retention? Good ground-cover will also help water retention. I've found some beans to be drought tolerant and good ground cover. The best were a gift from a local and weren't identified.
Many cactus are nitrogen fixers - opuntia for nopal and prickly pears, stenocereus (slow growing) for pitayas.
Similarly desert trees such as acacia and mesquite are nitrogen fixers although mesquite can be invasive in some areas.
http://www.aridzonetrees.com/nitrogen-fixation-and-desert-trees.html
https://cals.arizona.edu/desertlegumeprogram/
http://www.perennialsolutions.org/all-nitrogen-fixers-are-not-created-equal
You might also get some help from https://plants.usda.gov/adv_search.html
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 09:36:19 AM by BajaJohn »

 

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