Berm Building and Mulching for Water Retention

| 6/13/2014 8:24:00 AM

Tags: Farm Life, Ranch Living, Olive Trees, Planting, Berms, Mulch, Drought, Water Retention, Manure, Compost, Country Living, Homesteading, Nana,

NanaI come from a long line of people with soil under their fingernails from playing in the garden or in the fields. My father's parents' families were farmers for a couple of generations before him. He was a nursery owner, landscaper, an agronomist, crop adviser and farm consultant. I learned a lot by watching, listening to, and helping him.

To me, building berms around trees and mulching to hold onto moisture in the soil seem like no-brainers. But these are things a lot of people might not learn by growing up in the city. I realize some of the Capper's Farmer readers might not understand the value of the practice. If you're planting a LOT of trees, you'll probably skip the berm/mulch chore, but if you only have a few, as we do, this is a great water saver.

We planted three olive trees last year, before we discovered how terribly allergic to them my husband is. I'm going to keep both the olives and the husband, but he's getting allergy shots now. Curing olives has become a hobby (I get them from a friend until ours produce enough).

Olives I picked from a friend's tree

When we planted our trees, they each had a small berm around them, which creates a water well, for deep watering. Over time, berms wear down and erode. Goats, deer, Guinea fowl, and chickens all add to the drama. Any mulch we placed around them is gone and has been replaced by dried weeds.

An olive tree in desperate need of a new berm and some mulch

10/18/2014 10:20:29 AM

Great article Nana! We mulched and bermed our Raywood Ash trees for the first time this year and they aren't doing so well. They're 6 year old trees so they're 15 - 20 feet tall. Can't figure out why they're not doing well. Is it just this awful drought? We watered 4x as much as we did last year. Now you've got me thinking. Did the rotted horse manure that we used for mulch have that broadleaf herbicide in it? Yikes! Keep up the good work! Blessings, Renee in Elk Creek

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