Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Reforestation status

It has been over three weeks since we started our first phase of our reforestation project.  In this phase we are planting over 350 native scrubs and trees and will be planting another 500 or so next year.  The ground that we are planting in is extremely hard and difficult to dig in.

Holes in Very Hard Soil

After cleaning out the old brush and a bunch of garbage that had accumulated on the property over the past who knows how many years, we staged all of the plants.

Plants in the Staging Area

Staging Area

More plants in the staging area

And even more plants awaiting to be planted

Once we had purchased all of the plants that we wanted for this first stage, we started to create a design for the layout of the area.  This included creating some wind blocks, establishing areas that will have plants that will attract birds and butterflies with their flowers and aroma and finally areas that will create depth with the taller Huizaches and Mesquites.

Here we have laid out a number of the plants in one corner of the rancho that will be both a wind block and have flowers and aroma.

Plants a waiting There are still a lot to plant

We have a couple of workers on our rancho that are doing the majority of the digging.  It is hard work, even though we have two gas powered augers and an assortment of other tools and aids.

Thomas trying to get the plants in the ground

As I showed earlier the ground is very hard and a good day is to get 25 plants in the ground.  There is a lot of work to dig the hole (both wide and deep enough), to properly mix composted material with the desert soil and to stake and water.  This is nothing like planting in California but the net result should be wonderful.

Ready to plant

Although the plants are not very tall at this time, we have seen that within four years the plants can be 1 1/2 to 2 meters tall which will provide significant shade and blockage of the wind.  I can't wait to see how they progress.

New Wind Screen

Part of this project is also to provide additional protection to the newly reforested area.  Even though our property is fully fenced with the aging barbed wire we are providing an additional barrier for the new reforested area as well as moving our burros to a separate area of the rancho so we don't have to worry about them getting lose and eating the new plants.

New Fence Posts

Last week we were visited by the Directora of INIFAP so she could examine our rancho and ensure that we had acquired the right types of plants for our climate and soil conditions.  Luckily we had, but she had a couple of observations, one that we have some wonderful Huizaches Chicos as you can see below:

One of our existing Huizache

However down by our arroyo we also have a couple (not many) Huizaches that have the parasite Paistle in them.  This parasite does not really feed on the tree but blocks the photosynthesis and will starve the tree.

Paistle in a Huizache

So we are half way, maybe two thirds, but the work is slow and tiring.  We also have to find the time to remove the Paistle from the existing trees before they starve the trees, but that is just one of around two hundred projects that I have on my list. 

Next week we also have a field trip for the San Miguel Down To Earth Garden Club to INIFAP.  Right now we have around 45 people signed up to listen to Directora Rosario Terrones Rincon speak about native plants and shrubs and then lead a tour of their nursery and experimental gardens.  The lecture and tour will take around 2 1/2 hours so if anyone is interested in attending on the 29th of August, just send me a note.

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