Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A New Addition

When the big tree fell, we were more than sad.  Our house looked open and vulnerable, unprotected on one side, a gaping hole where once there had been lush greenery. We lived with it for a few months while I decided on a replacement.

A Native tree was the obvious first filter.  A tree from the nursery rather than a box store was the second decision.  Though the price differential was substantial, the quality and guarantee sealed the deal on where to shop.  The owner and her helper and I discussed varieties and availability and growth pattern and water needs.  I talked about my sweet acacia, the volunteer set among my rose bushes and therefore watered more frequently than any desert tree has a right to expect.  It's 25' tall and gorgeous.  We've got a 12 footer right here was all I needed to hear.

No, I didn't want to take it home (it's huge) myself.  Yes, I wanted them to deliver and plant it.  

There's a stake along the main trunk, and there will be two outlying poles to keep the rootball intact and in the ground while the tree gets comfortable. We've had some serious wind lately and no one wants the new installation to topple over.  

They brought a lot of tools.

They started with a broom, sweeping away the stones, marking the outside of the berm to come.  

There's no digging a hole in my front yard, especially a hole this big, 

without mechanical help.

Not only is the clay soil resistant to human powered shovels,

my particular corner of heaven seems to be filled with red bricks.

 Lots of red bricks.They came in handy later on.

I learned something new today.  When planting a large or spiky plant, first slice off the bottom of the container with an Exacto knife - a very big, very sharp Exacto knife in this case.  Then, maneuver the plant into the hole.  

Use the remaining barrel to turn what you're planting until all the parts are just so, then use industrial scissors or that strong Exacto knife to slit the side of the plastic and peel it away.  

The root ball is intact, ready for fluffing and before it is surrounded by clay attacking amended soil.

They cut off the weak shoots around the bottom.

I like the concept of the trashy trunk - leaving small sprouts low down on the trunk to keep the nutrition flowing and strengthening that which will support the branches and leaves above.  The nursery guys assured me that the trunk was sturdy enough already.  I chose to believe them because I don't want a shrub growing out of the bottom of my new tree.  I want it to grow tall and leafed out over the driveway - covering it with shade 

They installed support stakes

and used that broom to spiff up the berm after placing  those bricks as a water retention barrier.

Nice, isn't it?  It's a sweet acacia (Vachellia farnesiana) - fast growing, needing little maintenance once it's established, and creating a gigantic crown which will shade and protect and fill in the gap left by the wind destroyed palo verde. 
Notice the pot, all ready to drip water.

 I'll create a passive drip system (small hole punched in the bottom of 2 pretty planters, each holding 5 gallons of water) since there's no irrigation over there.  TBG and I will fill them on a schedule.  We'll remove the supporting center pole in six months, and the ones on the side in a year.

I'll keep you posted on her progress.


  1. Smart to leave this job to the professionals! Happy growing to your new tree.

    1. I once tried to dig a big hole in the hardback that passes for soil here.... emphasis on TRIED. It was definite worth the cost!

  2. I recognize that jackhammer from our days in Tucson, an essential tool for planting pretty much anything there. Pretty tree, here's hoping the winds don't harm it.

    1. Our first year I tried to help the gardeners ... with my trowel. They laughed themselves silly.
      It's a little blowy right now. TBG is out there looking at the tree.

  3. It looks good. Power shovel digging is not common in our gardening here.:-)

    1. Nor anywhere else I've ever lived! In Marin, I'd use my fingers to dislodge a plant and scoop out a hole someplace else. Here, I need an arsenal of protective equipment and the sharpest tools I can find.
      Yet, I find beauty.


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