How the trees are dealing with unseasonable weather

Permaculture Tested

It’s hot. It’s even been in the 90’s a few times. This is not Wyoming weather. This is…..this is weather unfit for human kind. It’s also dry. Spring is when we get our rain. August, September and October are our dry months. We can go without a lick of rain that entire time. Now though, now is not good. This heat, this drought, this is not good on my young trees.


I’m discouraged. I can’t water. I don’t have the water rights to water. I’m taking water out to the most desperate trees but otherwise, I’m just praying. Praying for rain that is missing us every single time.


The kraters and swales do their job admirably. I think if the trees were established better the whole system would be stable against drought conditions. The trees aren’t established though. The most established tree is on it’s 3rd year. All the others are going on their second summer or even their first in a few cases. Their roots aren’t established enough to survive this.


They are drooping. They are yellowing. Their leaves are falling off. I’m near despair. Please, rain, please.


I think I need to mulch. I haven’t for various reasons. Ok, I actually have. The very first year I mulched the trees and it was utterly pointless. It all blew away. I haven’t bothered since. I think I need to try again though. Straw being my best bet. Perhaps fresher straw and not the half decomposed straw I used the first time.

Still, perhaps this is a lost cause. That’s the thought at the very back of my mind. That I’ve done something foolish thinking it was something brave. That I’ve spent years and thousands of dollars proving all of the nay sayers right. If a single dry spring can kill all of my work than this system doesn’t work.

It’s not all dead though. It’s simply dying. Come rain. Come and restore my plants and my spirit. We are all waiting for you.



  1. //

    I failed miserably on my first attempt with fruit trees up here in Idaho….I tried the whole Mark Sheapard STUN thing and ended up with oNE plum tree that was near the house (not STUN-ed). This go around I’ve run some temporary irrigation fed from the house water supply. I just layed out black poly in my swales and put in drip lines for each tree/shrub. Not ideal, but neither is wasting all that money. Lawton recomeded temporary lines on Wheaton’s San Diego project from his DVD….just an idea

  2. //

    I have done some slight watering when I felt I absolutely had to. They should probably be watered more. My problem is water rights. In Wyoming water is a BIG BIG deal. I don’t have the rights to the ground water to water more than an acre. STUN becomes my only option at that point.

  3. //

    How bout this…Do some sneeky progressive watering on each tree in succession once a day, followed by a thick layer of grass/hay/straw/wood chip (whatever you have handy) mulch, then top that with a nice layer of stones for mulch to keep it all in place. In your windy environment the stones should really be your best bet for mulching. Get that nice heavy layer of organic matter down for some long term feeding rthen use the stone to keep it all there. 90’s aren’t to terribly bad if you can keep the soil shaded! Good luck!!!!

  4. //

    I agree that mulch will help. Hay seems to do a fairly decent job of it. Leaves never work, even when I put cement rip rap on top to hold it down, they just blew away.

    I’ve decided for future plantings I’ll be making the krater a year or so in advance and planting it with vetch, clover, etc. I am hoping this pre-planting will help my trees survive as it should, hopefully, help the soil stay moist. We shall see though.

  5. //

    Orchardhelper, i live in south of Portugal and i wish the max temperature was “only” 90´s.
    If you put straw on the craters now it will suck moisture from the soil, so if you irrigate the trees do it after putting straw.

    Old timers in south of Portugal and Spain would prepare the plantings half a year before planting the tree.
    1- Making the hole and crater.
    2- Putting a lot of manure/compost on the hole.
    3- Let it sip in for the autumn and winter to start all that soil activity until the trees are installed.

    But, even with this technic they would heavily irrigate each tree two or three times for the first 2 or 3 summers. Our temperatures in the summer are common to reach +35ºC.
    If you have water rights for only an acre, then install an acre of trees each three years, irrigate it for those three years see how they respond and repete it all through your farm.
    good luck!

  6. //

    I wish the temp was the big problem. Unfortunately we have hurricane force winds pretty commonly and it also gets below freezing here. Add that to an elevation of above 6,000 feet and it’s just hard on plants and people alike. We’re still here though, for some odd reason.

    I like your suggestion. I’ll have to consider them. I know we are prepping kraters ahead of time now so we’ll see if it makes a difference.

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