Nothing on your property should be more important than planting trees. They provide much needed shade, wind block, food, resources, and a deep satisfaction for generations to come. They release oxygen while digesting carbon dioxide. With all the deforestation on the planet, we all need to chip in.
Local Tree Sources
Mesquite and Desert Willow grow fairly fast. We have our own local indigenous tree farm in North Joshua Tree, Opuntia Garden Farm, run by Damien Lester and Maya Toccata. Both are Certified Permaculture designers with a wealth of information (contact information below). I planted 3 desert willows from this farm, and the willows are now exceeding 10 feet after 2 years growth.
In 2000, I planted a 3’ Mediterranean Pine Christmas tree, now 30+ feet tall which provides amazing shade for the barbecue area during warmer months and smells like vanilla when wet. Over the past 15 years, I successfully transplanted several potted Aleppo pine Christmas trees, aka Spanish Umbrella aka Italian Stone Pine. Pines only grow 1’- 2’ per year, so plant now if you’re planning to settle down.
Mesquite Trees for Shade & Barbecue Wood
In 2004, I planted a 4-foot mesquite tree that now exceeds 35 feet high and easily 40+ feet wide! It provides quite a bit of shade in the front yard. Water comes from the leach line. Mature mesquite needs to be pruned often which is excellent for barbecue wood. In 2020, I found a mesquite seedling in the raised bed garden, transplanted it into a prepared hole 2 years back and it is over 5 feet tall now, so they can grow relatively fast. 2-3’ per year when properly watered.
Varmint Control Tip
Rats and squirrels should never be poisoned! The poison then kills the raptors, coyotes, bobcats, roadrunners, and snakes that eat the poisoned varmint. Be a responsible land steward and use only natural no-kill traps like Havahart, available on eBay. Do not use kill traps!
Happy New Year!
Philip Bonafede’s gardening tips can be found on Facebook: Joshua Tree Gardening
Damian Lester of Opuntia Garden Farm can be contacted at email@example.com
Maya Toccata of Opuntia Garden Farm can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org