do trees want to be in my yard?

Trees can thrive in challenging surroundings

 I have written previously about the challenge of having dogs and gardens.  This weekend I completed a task of planting three fruit trees I purchased two weeks ago.  In the last week, in between rain showers, I used a pickaxe and shovels to carve out basins for the the three trees.   I set up a chicken wire and rebar barricades to keep Comet – I presume he was the culprit-  from digging out and fertilizing my trees.

I have on several previous occasions planted trees on my property.  Since most of the soil is decomposed granite and clay, and the available water is treated county water, the trees have difficult growing conditions.  Since removal of all the poor soil is not happening, I have resorted to bag at a time mixes from the garden store- and in each excavation, put tree,  potting soil, and organic materials.   This  has been sufficient in previous years till the severity of the heat and drought in a few years over the last decade especially in August – killed a dwarf palm, an ornamental Chinese strawberry tree,   a lime tree, grape vines and severely hampered a ficus.

This year, the drenching rains have not altered the clay soil, but some of my drought-tolerant shrubs are showing stress from too much water.  In three locations, the Mexican Fan Palm – a noxious weed though it is a tree – grows where it is not wanted.  On a positive note, fruit trees planted in the last five years should fruit this year.  And a lemon tree is showing signs that it wants to be healthy and produce fruit.

I have succulents that appear to be enjoy the mixed company, and a tree -like shrub that is doing very well.  At some future date, I have plans to replace the barricades with ornamental fencing;  the planters, wooden benches and plastic pots used for pee-deflectors, and install pebble or stone walks.   OR perhaps concrete over (tastefully) the remaining yard.   Until then I will talk to my plants as I talk to my dogs and ask them if they are going to be good.   Neither the plants nor the dogs talk back — at least so far.


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