Friday, December 2, 2016

More Trees

Since I finished fall tree planting with some time to spare, and since I had a spot in mind to try a pear tree, I recently planted one.  (And because, pears.)
What made me think of this location for a pear?  1) It's perhaps the coldest part of the yard in the winter.  2) It's a good location to get rainwater, and air conditioner condensate in the summer.  3) A tree here will help shade two north facing windows during summer mornings and afternoons.
A couple things you'll notice in these pictures: 1) A purslane is growing between the tree and the sidewalk.  There are several places at Sage Garden Ecovillas where purslane likes to grow every year (as volunteers, or weeds).  Mostly I see horse purslane (Trianthema portulacastrum), but this is one of the few locations where common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) grows.  I'm hoping that by preparing this area for the pear, and giving it consistent water in summer, I'll encourage the purslane to spread out and act as an edible ground cover in the summer.  2) I dug quite a few rocks out of this area, so I used them to make a spillway toward the back of the well.  This is the direction rain water will enter from.

I've also been thinking about tree planting for next spring. I'd like to plant Afghan pines as part of an arc around the north part of the yard.  This arc is designed as sort of an outdoor passive solar arrangement, shading the yard during summer, and allowing the sun in during winter.  Afghan pines (pinus eldarica, also called Eldar pines, Mondell pines, or desert pines) are perhaps the best-adapted pines for this climate.  They use little water, grow fast, tolerate poor soil, stand up to strong winds, have a pleasant fragrance, and at a mature height of about 40 ft, offer a moderately high canopy for shade.  These trees are often sold in the Phoenix area as live Christmas trees.