Suggestions for dry zone 7 trees


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SE Washington State
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7a and arid
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United States
Hi all, I'm looking for suggestions for zone 7a trees. Size and such don't really matter, as I have plenty of room for them. In this area, any land not planted soon turns into tumbleweed and sagebrush fields. I don't mind keeping some of the sagebrush, since it provides good habitat, but the tumbleweeds are worse than useless.

Anyway, we don't get much rain here, so I'm looking for suggestions for trees that can handle only 7"-8" of rainfall a year. I understand the first year would require some additional watering to get the little trees off to a good start. In my dream world, there are towering trees, understory trees, and tall shrubs. Flowering or shade is nice but not a deal breaker. If the trees provide wildlife food and habitat, all the better. Fortunately, we are not bothered by deer here. The trees will start life in full sun. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Forgot to mention, the soil is sandy loam, but alkalinity is about 8. Yikes!
 
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Welcome OrganicForMePlease. :) Your zone 7 is helpful but could I ask you to put your State in your avatar box please, it gives us a little more to work with regarding climate etc.
 
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Ah sorry, I don't think I can help you a dry climate is non existent here in the northern hemisphere, but I'm sure some of our friends here will be able to help you. :)
 
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Riverside/Pomona CA
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United States
Okay, you challenge a plant nerd you get what's coming to you!
'Raywood' or 'Modesto Ash- I'm in Riverside CA & they'll grow here on rainwater~6 to 12 in depending on drought
Texas Umbrella Tree (Melia azedarach)
Chinese or Siberian Elm (Ulmus parvifolia or U pumila)
Tree of Heaven- it will grow almost anywhere (even Brooklyn)
Black or Idaho Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

The ashes give great Fall color.
The Locusts have pretty flowers.
The others give good shade.

Hope this gives you some good ideas, for more check out Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs.

Happy plant parenting!
 
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Birmingham Alabama
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So is this random land or a pasture or? Any pictures? You are east of the mountains but is it really that dry? I was looking at state numbers of 2 to 5-6 inches per month? You are obviously in a microclimate? Crepe myrtle has to be on your list.
 
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SE Washington State
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7a and arid
Country
United States
cppgardener and DirtMechanic, thank you! These suggestions are great. Yes, it really is that dry here. The southeast corner of Washington State is arid and would be desert-like, except that there are irrigation canals maintained by the irrigation district. We don't use that water, as we have a very deep well. The land that I want to put the trees on is about 50' by 340' and levels out at the bottom of a gentle slope. It is about 60' from a faucet, so not too bad to get water to it, at least the part closest to the faucet.

I have a neat habitat started on another part of the property that is about 50' by 20' and consists of a huge firethorn, a cottonwood tree, some Lombardy poplar saplings that I'm not too fond of, and random wild grasses and weeds. It is alive with bees and birds most of the year. I'd love to make that whole 50' by 340' strip into a similar habitat.

The photo is not my home, but the land is very similar, especially the upper left quadrant.
1580067379185.png
 
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If it is sand you would need 28 pounds of sulphur per 1000 square feet soil to lower the pH to 6.5-6.8 and Loam needs 34 so if you think you want to do that start on the low end and have patience. It will take about 3 years. Too much at once is not a good thing, because of the initial concentration, and the sulphuric acid being produced by the bacteria critters that will break it down. 5 lbs per 1000 on one application with no more than 10lbs total per year and you get the idea.

I don't know how you feel about biochar, but your soil might be enhanced by the adsorption capacity of the charcoal, specifically water. Sand drains quickly and slowing that process is a good idea but hard to actually do. Grass is actually one of the best ways to open soil to preserve water and prevent runoff. I mention this because you described a slope in addition to sandy soil. Other plants, rooty ones like turnips, can be grown and left to become a green manure, enhancing moisture retention over time.

Although it is in Texas, an original owner of Church's Chicken managed to rehab 5500 acres of arid land and you may find it interesting. I watched the youtube video of him talking about it and found it quite interesting.
 
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SE Washington State
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Country
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That 5500 acre restoration project is inspiring!

The sulphur sounds like a great idea. I've been giving some thought to first burning off the existing vegetation, as there is nothing there that is of value, mostly weeds. We can burn on certain days, with a permit. I have also thought about cover cropping with either white Dutch clover or yellow clover, which should help with nitrogen. This is clearly going to be a long term project so I want to get started off right. These tips and suggestions are most helpful!
 

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