Baby Tree Protection – Summer & Winter

Summer, 2022. Oliver walks along a terrace raised garden path I built into the hill.

I planted about 30 baby trees in the Fall of last year to continue to rebuild after the wildfire. Planting baby trees in Fall is a good time, so they can over-Winter and come back in the Spring, but there’s always a chance that the young roots won’t make it, even under a great deal of mulch. Throughout the Winter, I could see life was still in most of them as we went down to freezing temperatures almost nightly. But the worst thing for these youngling is the cold Winter winds that blow through the mountains, (and will continue to do so until the trees up there come back to the burned hillsides). So I need to keep these baby trees protected until they grow to a good size.

These were planted mainly in September-October, 2021.
Baby Trees in the snow, December 2021.

I began placing a wind-mesh screen along the fence during the Spring. As the photo below shows, after the wildfire, we lost all windbreak in the hills and mountains. The wind-mesh is helpful to those trees closest to it. It’s really fascinating to stand in front of the screen during a high wind spell, place your hand above it and feel that wind hitting your hand twice as hard. Overall, the harsh winds still blow from above the fence, but any little bit can help.

Back hill full of baby trees, Summer 2022.

Shade Systems for Heat and Drought

I’m looking into a full diverse tree system that can handle the extremes of our area, some for wind, some for shade, different species to see which do best. Arizona Cypress is a good one for our area, but I don’t want just a hill full of them. California Pepper Trees are great, but I had two of them taken down by gophers. Desert Willows are fantastic, I plan to add a few more. My first goal is to create a strong outer system, and then build better inside, as we have no real shade or wind protection. Every tree has its roots caged now, which I hate to do, but if they can get themselves to a size where the roots can handle the underground critters, they will slowly break out of them.

As the heat and Sun continues to pound us, I’ve made some special tree shade systems on some young Thujas that were turning yellow… I’m unsure why I bought Thujas, they may not be the best for our Summers but I was sold on the “fast growing wind and shade trees”)” aspect.

Starting with three branches that I push down deeply into the ground, I tied around them in a teepee-style, then added some extra desert mesh to create shade. Not only does it keep the direct Sun from burning its tips, it also helps retain water at its base and allows for a bit of humidity.

Every year I learn a little more in tree protection, as I plan to plant another 20 or so trees this Fall.

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