Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catching Up

These pictures were taken the day after we had another major storm last week just after I got back from Vancouver. I was surprised at how much damage our backyard sustained because the winds didn't seem as bad as last time, but there you go, there is no rhyme or reason to these things. We actually had a tornado warning at one point though thankfully no actual tornado!

The first picture is a really good example of why there are sometimes problems with growing desert trees in small suburban backyards. Despite the fact that we never watered this mesquite, it was still getting plenty of water from other plants in the yard that are more regularly watered. As a result it never needed to develop a deep root system. You can see how shallow the roots are and so a well timed, and probably quite strong gust of wind was all it took to take it over. All my trees were in dire need of thinning too which I usually do before the summer storms. I really didn't expect such violent winter storms this year.

I am sad, I always am when I lose trees and plants, but it could have been much worse, and amazingly enough the back wall was completely undamaged. I finally got out today to finish the clean up and to try to put things back in order. I am toying with getting another tree and I am thinking another Desert Willow might be a better idea. They generally grow in slightly less arid areas, and need a bit more water than the average desert tree. As a result I feel that they are more stable in the long run. It is sad seeing the empty space where my lovely mesquite tree was.

I finally planted my tomato and pepper seeds into seed trays today. I am really late this year so I don't know if I will be too late to get a really good crop of both before the heat starts. My poor garden has been so neglected the past few months I am afraid. I don't know what has been happening to me lately, I just can't seem to get caught up. I have a ton of swiss chard that needs harvesting too, and carrots.

** I don't at all mean to imply that desert trees aren't always the best choice environmentally for landscaping here in the desert. However, there are issues when there is so much available water around for them to "steal". We have problems with our neighbours over watering their plants to the point that their water pours through our back wall so even if one waters little oneself, there is always plenty more to share around.


Amy said...

Oh no! Your beautiful backyard. Well, at least you'll get to do more planting....too bad it requires removing some plants/trees. :(

Jenn said...

All our desert trees are adapted to grabbing what surface water seeps down to them. They are all incredibly shallow rooted - there is no need to send down a tap root when there is no water to tap.

So don't feel like you contributed to the loss of this tree.

Have you considered pulling it back up and staking it?

Mo said...

Thanks Jenn and yes, I did consider staking, but it is so incredibly loose and unstable right now that I fear even another small wind storm would have the same result. I have seen people try to restake trees here, and even when done well I fear that it is largely unsuccessful in the long run. Sad though. :(