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Shade 2018


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'Gardening With and For Shade'. Talk featuring plants from Californias Sonoran (Colorado) Desert useful in S. California gardens. Part of 'Out of the Wilds and into Your Garden' lecture series.

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Shade 2018

  1. 1. © Project SOUND Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Gardening with California Native Plants in Western L.A. County Project SOUND – 2018 (our 14th year)
  2. 2. © Project SOUND Gardening with and for Shade: how shade defines & refines a garden C.M. Vadheim, K. Dawdy (and T. Drake) CSUDH (emeritus), CSUDH & City of Torrance Madrona Marsh Preserve March 3 & 8, 2018
  3. 3. 2018 Season – Gardens that sooth © Project SOUND Gardens that heal What has shade got to do with our theme? Lots
  4. 4. Where we’ll be going in today’s talk  Heat, drought & climate change: trying to predict/prepare for the future  The importance of shade for health – our and the environment’s  Degrees of shade  Drought tolerant shade trees from the Sonoran Desert  Why Sonoran plants make sense  How to use shade to make your garden more interesting (to be continued next month) © Project SOUND
  5. 5. Why is shade becoming more important? © Project SOUND
  6. 6. Our planet – and our S. California – is getting hotter  Heat is not just annoying – it kills  By mid-century, extreme heat events in urban centers such as Los Angeles are projected to cause two to three times as many heat-related deaths as there are today.  Greater risk of death from dehydration, heat stroke/exhaustion, heart attack, stroke, and respiratory distress  High temperatures stress almost all living creatures - from bacteria to mammals. © Project SOUND thermometer-or-thermostat-leader/
  7. 7. In fact, the L.A. Basin may change more than other places in California © Project SOUND precipitation/89579/
  8. 8. Why most warm dry lands are at mid-latitudes  The tropical atmospheric convection cell is known as the Hadley cell (Hadley circulation).  Warm air rises near the equator, spreads laterally, becomes cool and falls at around 30 degrees latitude, north and south.  As the warm air rises at the equator, it cools, dropping its moisture as rain. Tropical rainforests are the result, circling the globe near the equator.  The air moves north and south to about 30 degrees of latitude and falls. As the high- altitude cool air becomes warmer in the lower atmosphere, its relative humidity falls. The descending air-mass is dry, and deserts circle the globe between 25 degrees and 30 degrees of latitude. © Project SOUND global-distribution-of.html
  9. 9. We live in a mediterranean climate… © Project SOUND …a dryland climate (not a desert, but still dry) created by a combination of large scale atmospheric circulation and proximity to an ocean Between 30 & 45° N and S
  10. 10. © Project SOUND Mediterranean climates are special places – biodiversity hotspots + edgy climate Meditereannean climates are particularly vulnerable to global climate change
  11. 11. We’re subject to El Niño and La Niña  Los Angeles rainfall determined by:  position and strength of the Pacific and Polar jet streams  strength of the Gulf of Alaska low.  In an El Niño year, a well-developed series of cold fronts moves into the area with relatively short separation between each, bringing intermittently rainy periods.  In a La Niña year (drought years of 2012– 2016, ?2017-18), a blocking region of atmospheric high pressure over the eastern Pacific Ocean, between Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, diverts the jet stream and its flow of cold fronts far to the north. © Project SOUND weather-patterns
  12. 12. Global temperature affects the size and position of the Hadley Cells  As global temperatures rise, the temperature difference between the poles and the equator is likely to decrease, expanding the Hadley Cells.  One effect this has is that mid- latitude regions like the Mediterranean and the Southwestern US are likely to see an increase in sea level pressure — which corresponds to drier weather. © Project SOUND global-distribution-of.html
  13. 13. Poleward shift  “… circulation features have moved poleward since the 1970s, involving a widening of the tropical belt, a poleward shift of storm tracks and jet streams, and a contraction of the northern polar vortex.”  Consequences:  Lessening of the equator-polar temperature gradient slows the jet stream.  As the jet stream slows, it supports a "wavier,” more frequently amplifying jet that increases the probability of extreme weather events, known as Arctic amplification. © Project SOUND the-california-drought/
  14. 14. Blocking high pressure in the Northern Pacific  Cold, moist air diverted through Canada and down into the U.S. Midwest, leaving the U.S. west coast and especially Los Angeles under warm and dry conditions for weeks to months at a time. © Project SOUND We’ve seen this all too often recently
  15. 15. The poleward shift (due to climate warming) effects our winter precipitation © Project SOUND Likely to experience more frequent dry, La Niña type winters
  16. 16. But will global warning also bring us more summer rain (summer monsoons)?  San Diego County is already seeing increased summer precipitation – but will the rain reach Los Angeles County??? © Project SOUND  Sub-tropical ridge expands and moves north  Circulation around the high pressure pulls subtropical/monsoonal moisture up from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico, increasing humidity in the Southwest.
  17. 17. Is the L.A. Basin becoming more ‘desert- like’? What about the future?  Less winter rainfall (in many years)  Dry winds (Santa Anas) more of the year  Less humidity  Higher temperatures  Urban heat island effects  All point to increasing aridity (desert = shortfall of precipitation compared to evapotranspiration rates) © Project SOUND
  18. 18. Sunset Garden Zones  Zone 22 - Cold-winter portions of S. California’s coastal climate  Zone 23 - Thermal belts of S. California’s coastal climate  85 percent of the time, Pacific Ocean weather dominates; interior air rules only 15 percent of the time.  A notorious portion of this 15 percent consists of those days when hot, dry Santa Ana winds blow.  Zone 24 - Marine influence along the S. California coast  Winters are mild, the summers cool, and the air seldom really dry. © Project SOUND los-angeles-area What if all the Zones got hotter (all year long)?
  19. 19. Our view of the Pleistocene: based on the La Brea Tar Pits © Project SOUND Climate pretty much like today – Coastal Sage Scrub/Chaparral
  20. 20. Climate of the Los Angeles Basin 12,000 BP  At the end of the Pleistocene, the climate changed abruptly - became hotter and drier  Continued getting dryer until what paleoclimatologists call the Altithermal -- the peak of the current interglacial when temperatures were at their hottest.  At this time, the basin's ecosystem wasn't sage scrub or chaparral, but Sonoran desert (current Arizona).  The summer heat pulled monsoon rains out of the Gulf of Mexico into southern California, making the climate and local ecosystem more like the Sonoran Desert. © Project SOUND
  21. 21. So what can we do to prepare?  Assume we’ll be hotter & drier, more of the time  Look carefully at plants from the Colorado Desert.  Colorado Desert plants already experience some of our (likely) future conditions:  More heat  Drier (but rainy) winters  Occasional summer rain  Plants from some communities can take occasional flooding © Project SOUND
  22. 22. OMG! This is so not me © Project SOUND
  23. 23. © Project SOUND We need to choose and adapt plants and gardening practices, to make them suitable for our future climate
  24. 24. So what can we do to prepare?  Assume we’ll be hotter & drier, more of the time  Look carefully at plants from the Colorado Desert.  Colorado Desert plants already experience some of our future conditions:  Hotter  Drier (but rainy) winters  Occasional summer rain  Plants from some communities can take occasional flooding © Project SOUND We can encourage everyone to plant more, water-wise trees/large shrubs
  25. 25. Trees/other vegetation cool our neighborhoods in two important ways  Provide shade  Tree shade: decrease temperature 20 to 45ºF (11-25ºC) for walls and roofs; ~ 45ºF for parked cars  Vines: reductions of up to 36ºF (20ºC).  Provide evapotranspirational cooling  Peak air temperatures in tree groves are 9ºF (5ºC) cooler than over open terrain.  Suburban areas with mature trees are 4 to 6ºF (2 to 3ºC) cooler than new suburbs without trees.  Particularly important in hot, dry periods © Project SOUND with-google-street-view
  26. 26. And trees have other effects that will help us cope in the future  Filter out harmful UV rays  Root system allows for increased water absorption during rain/irrigation events  Act as windbreaks to decrease wind-associated drying  Provide habitat, food © Project SOUND We should choose our trees carefully, so they provide these services for years to come.
  27. 27. Trees (shade) can also make our gardens more interesting and attractive © Project SOUND Fabian Garcia Botanical Garden Las Cruces, New Mexico
  28. 28. We need to learn to appreciate – and create - the beauty of dry shade © Project SOUND ideas/pictures/2016/
  29. 29. © Project SOUND Our inspiration can no longer be the wet, shady gardens of other climates
  30. 30. Nope, this isn’t the right look either © Project SOUND Eucalyptus grove
  31. 31. We need to look seriously at examples of Southwestern dry shade: in public and private gardens © Project SOUND
  32. 32. Lesson 1: Build shade & people will come © Project SOUND albuquerque-inspirational-prairiebreak-barking-up-the-right-tree/ Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden
  33. 33. How do they do it?  Choose the right trees  Landscape/climate conditions  Size  Desired amount of shade  Other characteristics: flowers, foliage, shape, habitat, useful products  Place seating in shady spots  Provide an interesting understory  Contrast sunny and shady areas – need both for an interesting garden © Project SOUND Acequia-Escondida-Nw-Albuquerque-NM-87104
  34. 34. Choosing the right Colorado Desert trees © Project SOUND
  35. 35. Desert Riparian Woodland (Colorado Desert)  Along permanent water sources (mostly rivers); look similar to local riparian woodlands  May include typical Riparan species (Willows/Cottonwoods; Baccharis; ) as well as other large shrubs and trees.  Often a well-developed understory:  Riparian species: cattails; rushes  Other perennials & grass-like plants  Trees and larger shrubs remain green except in winter (winter deciduous types) or very bad drought  Plants require water © Project SOUND location-lifers-in-one-day.html
  36. 36. Desert Microphyll Woodland  Along seasonal desert waterways, arroyos of the Colorado Desert [Sonoran Desert in general]  Stored runoff water stored under and along the sandy or gravelly beds supports a rich shrubby flora  Larger trees/shrubs may be dormant in dry years – still access ground water  Warmer round-the-year temperatures and perhaps other factors support an open to sometimes dense woodland of small (to 5 m), microphyllous trees, especially Fabaceae.  Smaller shrubs or perennials also conspicuous along the arroyo margins © Project SOUND
  37. 37. Desert Microphyll Woodland  Very important animal habitat; supports diverse array of insects, birds, animals (including humans)  Supports interesting group of plants that cope with extremes of soil moisture  May become an increasingly important source of garden trees & shrubs for L.A. Basin  In fact, we’ve already discussed a few of these © Project SOUND
  38. 38. © Project SOUND *Blue paloverde – Parkinsonia (Cercidium) florida J. E.(Jed) and Bonnie McClellan © California Academy of Sciences.
  39. 39.  Sonoran Desert of California, Arizona & Mexico  Scattered along washes, flood plains in desert riparian associations, pseudo- riparian communities and desert microphyll (desert wash) woodlands © Project SOUND *Blue paloverde – Parkinsonia florida J. E.(Jed) and Bonnie McClellan © California Academy of Sciences ©2011 Neal Kramer
  40. 40. © Project SOUND Blue Paloverde: big and impressive Pea  Size:  15-35 ft. tall  20-35+ ft. wide  Growth form:  Large shrub or tree; mounded to weeping habit  Multiple stems (usually)  Drought deciduous – loses all its leaves in dry season  Bark: green (photosynthesis) becoming gray with age  Deep roots  Foliage:  Compound leaves typical of Peas  Blue-green  Has thorns oniaflorida.html
  41. 41. © Project SOUND Blue paloverde  Used as an ornamental shade tree in dry gardens  Excellent habitat tree  Large informal screen or hedge  Looks beautiful with other desert natives – or those of LA Basin
  42. 42. Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’  Parkinsonia (Cercidium) x 'Desert Museum‘ - complex hybrid among Mexican, Blue and Foothills paloverdes  Introduced by Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (1981); widely available  25-30 ft. x 25-30 ft.  Good attributes  Thornless; few seed pods  Fast growing to 25 ft.  Long flowering season (up to 2 months)  Needs well-drained soil © Project SOUND oniaflorida.html
  43. 43. © Project SOUND *Yellow paloverde – Parkinsonia microphylla
  44. 44.  Arizona, se. California, and nw. Mexico; at 500-4000 (152-1219 m).  Sonoran Desert (Whipple Mountains) - indicator species of the Sonoran Desert floristic region  Upper bajadas, rocky slopes & flats of desert hills and mountains, from 1,000 to 4,000 feet © Project SOUND *Yellow paloverde – Parkinsonia microphylla ©2010 James M. Andre ©2010 James M. Andre
  45. 45. © Project SOUND Yellow paloverde  Size:  10-25 ft tall  15-20 ft wide  Growth form:  Woody shrub or small tree  Multi-trunk; fairly open with irregularly mounded crown  Young bark very yellow-green (photosynthetic)  Tip spines  Foliage:  Drought-deciduous; no leaves much of the year  Bipinnate, compound leaves ©2015 Zoya Akulova
  46. 46. Blue paloverde vs. Yellow paloverde  Blue Paloverde (P. florida), which has blue-green branches and foliage, occurs chiefly along drainages, blooms earlier, and has larger, deeper yellow flowers.  The most notable difference between this palo verde and blue palo verde is the trunk and branch color. Foothills/Yellow palo verde is yellow-green, vs. a bluish cast to blue palo verde. © Project SOUND
  47. 47. © Project SOUND Lovely flowers  Blooms: in spring - usually April- May  Flowers:  Open, pea-type flowers  Pale yellow; much less bright than Blue paloverde  Attract hummingbirds & many insect pollinators, butterflies  Seeds:  Pea-like seeds (several per pod)  Pods relatively thin, with constrictions
  48. 48. Eating Paloverde  Fresh seeds – raw or cooked  Soaking, fermenting, sprouting, and cooking make more digestible  Dry seeds  Cooked like beans  Sprouted for nutritious sprouts © Project SOUND
  49. 49. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: well-drained – sandy or rocky (or plant on a berm)  pH: any local  Light: full sun  Water:  Winter: adequate (at least 6 inches)  Summer: requires less water than the blue palo verde. Deep water once a month (Water Zone 1-2; perhaps 2)  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other: prune as needed – can be pruned up as tree
  50. 50. © Project SOUND Yellow paloverde  Shade tree – light, filtered shade; in leaf or not  Screen, hedge or background shrub, particularly with desert species  All-round habitat plant  Water-wise food plant
  51. 51. Grades of shade in the dry garden  Full sun - all day sunshine or a full afternoon of sun.  Filtered (light or high) shade – dapple bright shade under small- leaved/drought deciduous trees [Palo verdes; Desert willow]  Part shade - morning sun and afternoon shade after 12 p.m. Or shade under small-leaved trees, such as Mesquites, Ironwood.  Full shade - no direct sun during the day because of dense overhead foliage or buildings. © Project SOUND
  52. 52. Paloverde trees provide light shade © Project SOUND Many water-wise desert and non-desert native plants thrive in light shade
  53. 53. Using light shade: Tohona Chul Park, Tucson AZ  Many water-wise plants – from perennials to shrubs - do very well with a little bright shade:  Penstemons  CA fuschia  Summer-dry native ferns  Many grasses  Many agaves; Banana yucca  Salvias: Salvia clevelandii; Salvia pachyphylla  Rose family (many)  Some Sunflowers  Many others © Project SOUND tohono-chul.html Parry penstemon beneath Palo Verde See the Dry Shade and Semi-dry Shade plant lists for ideas
  54. 54. Let’s say you like a warm, bright palette © Project SOUND
  55. 55. © Project SOUND Firecracker Penstemon – Penstemon eatonii
  56. 56. © Project SOUND Firecracker Penstemon needs excellent drainage  Soils:  Texture: any well-drained; sandy or rocky/gravelly best  pH: any local  Light:  Full sun to part shade; actually quite shade tolerant  Water:  Winter: needs good water in well-drained soils  Summer: best with little water once established (Zone 2)  Too much water, fertility probably shortens life  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils; use non-organic mulch
  57. 57. © Project SOUND Flowers are just fantastic  Blooms:  Summer; usually May-July in coastal S. CA  Long bloom period – blooms open sequentially  Flowers:  Scarlet red; tubular  Along stems above foliage  Cutting of spent stalks may encourage more blooms  Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies (all Penstemons)  Vegetative reproduction: easy by divisions Al Schneider @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
  58. 58. © Project SOUND Garden uses for Firecracker Penstemon  As an attractive pot plant; be sure pot is deep enough  Good bet for the hummingbird and butterfly garden  Spectacular when massed  Excellent for dry shade under oaks and other native water-wise trees 24380&return=c_aF
  59. 59. The interesting garden: contrasts  Remember: an important part of good garden design is planning for contrasts:  Light colors vs. dark  Hues (colors)  Fine texture vs. coarse  Sun vs. shade © Project SOUND slides/
  60. 60. Limited color schemes : mass planting © Project SOUND phoenix_10.html Principles: simplify; use repetition Enough complexity to be interesting; enough simplicity to be soothing
  61. 61. Other desert microphyll trees provide a little more summer shade © Project SOUND
  62. 62. © Project SOUND *Desert-willow – Chilopsis linearis
  63. 63. © Project SOUND *Desert-willow – Chilopsis linearis  American SW from CA to Texas; S. to Mexico  Desert & adjacent mountain ranges < 5000  Mojave and Colorado deserts  Common in gravelly or rocky soils in arid desert washes and desert grasslands Chilopsis%20linearis,%20Desert%20Willow.html
  64. 64. © Project SOUND Flowers are like orchids  Blooms:  Long bloom period  usually Apr-Aug/Sept. in S. CA  Flowers:  Like an orchid or Catalpa  Extremely showy – tropical- or Mediterranean-looking  Light fragrance – somewhat like violets  Nectar attracts hummingbirds & bees  Seeds:  In long, thin pods  Tan pods remain on tree through winter
  65. 65. © Project SOUND Wide natural range in color: pink/purple
  66. 66. © Project SOUND Many uses for Desert Willow  As a specimen/accent tree – even on parking strips  For erosion control on slopes  As a large informal hedge or screen; windbreak  In very large containers – better in ground
  67. 67. Desert willow  As a shade tree – even in lawns (with well-drained soils)  Produces filtered sun – can grow other plants beneath it  Winter deciduous; shade when you need it  Good near decks/patios © Project SOUND
  68. 68. Who needs Crepe Myrtle when we have attractive, water-wise natives © Project SOUND
  69. 69. Mesquites give the look of an olive grove © Project SOUND
  70. 70. © Project SOUND *Honey mesquite – Prosopis glandulosa
  71. 71. © Project SOUND *Western honey mesquite – Prosopis glandulosa  Southwest U.S. and Mexico  In CA (var. torreyana) : San Joaquin Valley, San Gabriel & San Bernardino Mtns, Mojave & Sonoran Deserts south into Mexico.  Common. Mesas, washes, bottomlands, sandy alluvial flats and other low places to 4000', creosote bush scrub, alkali sink. ©2002 California Academy of Sciences
  72. 72. © Project SOUND Honey mesquite: large member of the Pea Family  Size:  25-40 ft. tall  20-50 ft. wide  Growth form:  Large shrub or tree  Mounded or weeping form  Bark red, brown or gray  2 inch thorns  Foliage:  Medium green  Double-compound leaves with 15-35 rather narrow leaflets – feathery or fern-like appearance  Roots:  Deep taproot (to 150 ft.)  Shallow roots (N-fixing); most nutrients prosopis-glandulosa-torreyana
  73. 73. Another edible ‘Pea’  Lining of seedpods separated, dried, and ground into a powder to make mesquite meal or mesquite flour  Sweet, caramel-tasting; a staple of indigenous diet & now sold commercially  Can be used to make breads and cookies.  When fermented, it produces a slightly alcoholic beverage.  The green pods can be boiled in water to make a syrup or molasses.  A tea or broth can also be made from the pods. © Project SOUND©2005 Robert Sivinski
  74. 74. Harvesting Mesquite is becoming more popular in Arizona every year © Project SOUND
  75. 75. Harvesting desert seeds & pods  Harvest bean-tree pods – ironwood, palo verde, and mesquite – as soon as they are ripe in summer (June through fall)  Pick pods from tree (don’t harvest from ground; serious fungal toxins)  Pick the pods by hand or spread a tarp on the ground and gently shake the limbs. The ripe pods should fall onto the tarp.  For mesquite, TASTE one of the pods first (watch out for the very hard seeds). If it tastes good to you, go ahead and pick from that tree. © Project SOUND
  76. 76. Drying & milling Mesquite  Dry pods outside on drying racks, a clean metal surface, or even a clean cloth spread over the ground during the day.  Or dry/roast them in a solar oven, conventional oven, or over a fire.  When the pods readily snap in two when bent, they are ready for storage.  Store completely dry pods in airtight, food-grade containers  Many people mill the Mesquite pods to make ‘Mesquite flour’ © Project SOUND event-on-oct-19-will-showcase-mesquite-milling-programs- music/ Desert Harvesters portable hammermill
  77. 77. You can even grind small amounts at home  You can grind for yourself in a molcajete, Vita-mix (not an average blender or food processor) or coffee grinder, and sift through a wire mesh strainer to remove the hard seeds and remaining bits of pod.  Store in air-tight glass jars  Or cook whole pods and strain the liquid to make ice cream, toffee, syrup, atole, pudding, smoothies, milkshakes - even tea or beer © Project SOUND make-your-own-gluten-free-mesquite-pod-flour/ mesquite-bean-math/
  78. 78. Using mesquite flour: you get to taste some simple Mesquite muffins  Can be used to make a simple flatbead  Mesquite bean flour is most often used in combination with other flours. Substitute ¼ cup- to-½ cup mesquite flour in each cup of grain flour.  Mesquite bean flour can be used in breads, pancakes, muffins, cakes and even cookies. © Project SOUND
  79. 79. © Project SOUND Ornamental shade  Fast-growing & attractive  Best 10-20 ft. away from lawn or regular water  Nice, medium shade – the best kind to have!  Excellent habitat tree &type=85&id=15037
  80. 80. © Project SOUND *Screwbean mesquite – Prosopis pubescens
  81. 81.  W. TX and Coahuila west to s. CA & Baja CA; north as far as extreme s.w. UT  In arroyos, along creeks and in river bottoms  Associated with desert riparian woodland and scrub habitats (including Creosote bush scrub and Mesquite bosques)  Introduced by Theodore Payne © Project SOUND *Screwbean mesquite – Prosopis pubescens Charles Webber © California Academy of Sciences ©2012 Jean Pawek
  82. 82. © Project SOUND Screwbean mesquite: smaller & open  Size:  15-30 ft tall  15-25 ft wide  Growth form:  Many-branched open woody shrub or small tree  Form: open, mounded, somewhat irregular  Drought-deciduous; older bark shreddy  Stout spines; fast-growing  Foliage:  Bipinnate compound; small, green leaflets (typical Pea)  Roots: can spread (usually slowly) ©2012 Jean Pawek ©2016 Zoya Akulova
  83. 83. © Project SOUND Flowers are fantastic  Blooms: late spring to early summer, depending on weather  Flowers:  Tiny pea-type flowers  Pale yellow  Numerous on stout stalk; looks fuzzy – quite pretty  Sweetly fragrant; attract many pollinators  Seeds:  Pea-type seeds in distinctive, cork-screw pods; quite pretty  Dried pods/seeds are edible  Transported by water, animals
  84. 84. © Project SOUND Mesquites are survivors  Soils:  Texture: most - adaptable  pH: any local  Tolerances: salt, alkali, flooding  Light:  Full sun to part-shade  Water:  Winter: adequate rainfall  Summer: best with several deep waterings (Water Zone 1-2 to 2)  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other:  Thin and shape as needed; can be quite nice if pruned up  Tip-prune young plants to promote fullness ©2016 Zoya Akulova
  85. 85. © Project SOUND Screwbean mesquite  Nice shade tree; light-medium shade  Accent or hedge plant; nice foliage  For habitat: larval food for Marine Blue, Metalmark butterflies  For its food value; collect dry pods in late summer & mill for flour
  86. 86. North of the Mexican border most of the common Sonoran Desert trees are legumes. Why? © Project SOUND
  87. 87. How do Sonoran Desert plants survive?  Avoidance: avoiding the hot, dry summer  Annuals (50-90% of species)  Bulbs & corms  Succulence: storing water for the dry season in fleshy leaves, stems, roots  Cacti and desert succulents (Agaves; Yucca)  Special photosynthesis (CAM): allows stomata to remain closed during day, conserving water © Project SOUND
  88. 88.  Drought tolerance: ways to delay & withstand desiccation:  Deep roots; netlike roots  Small, thick leaves  Light color; waxy coating; leaf hairs  Drought-deciduous leaves  Leaf orientation  Cellular mechanisms that protect cell structure  Lots of flowers, timed to coincide with their pollinators  Protection against herbivory: chemical & physical means © Project SOUND How do Sonoran Desert shrubs survive?
  89. 89. Why all the Desert Peas? The Fabaceae (pea or legume family) 1. Ancestry: Their prevalence in the Sonoran Desert flora (for example, there are 53 legume species in the Tucson Mountains, 8% of its plants) reflects this desert’s tropical origin. 2. They are champion drought tolerators, most abundant in the arid tropics. a) Root characteristics b) Foliage characteristics c) Flowering characteristics d) Characteristics of seeds and seed pods e) Other protective mechanisms against disease, predation © Project SOUND
  90. 90. Mesquites are a good example of why Desert Pea shrub flourish. 1.  Root systems:  Host nitrogen-fixing bacteria; enrich soils.  Wide lateral root spans; outcompete other plants for water.  Deep taproots reach subsurface water, sometimes 150 to perhaps 200 feet below the surface.  Foliage characteristics:  Small, wax coated leaves minimize transpiration  During extreme drought, may shed their leaves to further conserve moisture. © Project SOUND
  91. 91. Mesquites are a good example of why Desert Pea shrub flourish, 2.  Flowering/seed characteristics  Fragrant flowers attract insects, especially the bees.  Large seeds; long life  Abundant, nutritious seeds promote caching by animals  Pod protects seeds against premature predation and desiccation  Seeds have hard, chemically-protected coat - can last for decades waiting for right conditions. © Project SOUND
  92. 92. Mesquites are a good example of why Desert Pea shrubs flourish. 3.  Other protective mechanisms against disease, predation  Sharply pointed, strong thorns challenge browsing by desert herbivores  Foliage, bark and roots produce deterrent and protective chemicals © Project SOUND
  93. 93. Mesquites are important medicinal plants  Pods/Seeds:  Eyewash  Sunburn treatment  Sore throat  Gum (exuded from trunk):  Eyewash for infection and irritation  Treatment for sores, wounds, burns, chapped fingers and lips and sunburn  Diarrhea, stomach inflammation, system cleansing or to settle the intestines  Sore throat, cough, laryngitis, fever reduction, painful gums  Leaves  Eyewash  To treat headaches, painful gums and bladder infection © Project SOUND Mesquite wood (smoke) is also favored for barbeque barbeque-a-turkey/ mesquite-round-rock-1
  94. 94. Can I grow anything under a Mesquite? © Project SOUND m/eplant.php?plantnum=2097&return=l20_ aR Many plants thrive in Mesquite shade Desert trees serve as ‘nurse plants’
  95. 95. In Arizona gardens, contrasting shapes & foliage provide additional interest © Project SOUND
  96. 96. © Project SOUND California Primrose – Oenothera californica © 2005 Brent Miller
  97. 97. © Project SOUND California Primrose – Oenothera californica  Coastal, Sierra, Transverse and desert mountain ranges of CA to Baja – locally in San Gabriels; in foothills (mostly)  Sandy or gravelly areas, dunes, desert scrub to pinyon/juniper or ponderosa-pine woodlands  Same genus as Hooker’s Evening Primrose a_subsp._eurekensis_(2).jpg
  98. 98. © Project SOUND Characteristics of CA Primrose  Size:  Usually < 1 ft tall  Usually 2-4 ft wide; more in favorable locations (with more water)  Growth form:  Sprawling sub-shrub or herbaceous perennial  Foliage initially in basal rosette – then becomes almost vine-like  Foliage:  Lance-shaped; may be incised  Drought & cold deciduous  Roots: 2-4 ft
  99. 99. © Project SOUND Flowers are the reason to plant native primroses  Blooms:  In spring - usually Apr-May in our area  Flowers open over long period – individual flowers short-lived  Flowers:  White, becoming more pink  Fairly large (2 inch) and definitely showy  Sweet, slightly musky fragrance  Seeds: many tiny seeds in a capsule  Vegetative reproduction: sprouting from roots © 2003 Lynn Watson
  100. 100. © Project SOUND Care and management: plant & ignore  Soils:  Texture: sandy/rocky best  pH: any local to 8.5 (alkali)  Light:  Full sun – coastal  Part-shade/morning sun inland  Water:  Winter: good winter rains  Summer: drought tolerant but takes anything from 2 to 3; best to let dry out in late summer/fall  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other: cut back as needed in fall.
  101. 101. © Project SOUND Native primroses in the garden  Nice with native grasses, perennials, annual wildflowers in a habitat garden – in dappled shade  Lovely in pots on a sunny deck
  102. 102. Low, groundcover plants for under water-wise trees  Verbenas & mock verbenas  SW Mahona/Berberis  Several buckwheats (Eriogonum)  Dudleyas  Many grasses  Non-native, water-wise groundcovers  Even leaf vegetables: lettuce, spinach, Miner’s lettuce, other wild and garden greens © Project SOUND
  103. 103. Just the word ‘Acacia’ makes many gardeners cringe © Project SOUND The commonly planted Invasive, non-native Acacia decurrens, A. dealbata, and A. melanoxylon are on the California ‘Do Not Plant List’ for a good reason. These all are highly invasive, spreading by seeds, suckers and sprouts
  104. 104. © Project SOUND *Catclaw acacia – Senegalia greggii ©2009 Neal Kramer
  105. 105.  Northern Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and southern Mojave deserts  Washes and canyons to 6000', in habits of creosote bush scrub and pinyon-juniper woodland  Important habitat plant  Introduced by Theodore Payne © Project SOUND *Catclaw acacia – Senegalia greggii Charles Webber © California Academy of Sciences Glenn and Martha Vargas © California Academy of Sciences var. greggii var. wrightii
  106. 106. © Project SOUND Catclaw acacia: shrubby desert pea tree  Size:  10-20 ft tall  10-20 ft wide  Growth form:  Many-branched woody shrub or small tree  Irregular, rounded form; drought deciduous  Branches have ‘claws’  Moderate growth; long-lived  Foliage:  Bipinate leaves (Pea family)  Light to medium gray-green w/ small leaflets  Roots: deep roots ©2009 James M. Andre
  107. 107. © Project SOUND Interesting flowers  Blooms: in spring - usually Apr-June  Flowers:  Flowers small, yellow pea flowers in very dense spikes (somewhat like willow catkins; unusual)  Very sweetly scented  Attract loads of insect pollinators; the honey is prized for it’s flavor  Seeds:  Pea type pods with constrictions between the seeds; mature seeds toxic if ingested  Vegetative reproduction: can re- sprout if cut/burned ©2009 Gary A. Monroe ©2009 Neal Kramer
  108. 108. Medicinal uses for Catclaw acacia  Pods are used to make an eyewash to treat conjunctivitis.  A poultice of pods used to treat sore muscles  Leaves and pods when ground into powder will stop small amounts of bleeding and soothe chafed skin or diaper rash.  When this powder is made into a tea, it can be used as an antimicrobial wash or drunk to treat diarrhea and dysentery  The thick, sticky root, when made into tea, treats sore throats, mouth inflammations, and coughs © Project SOUND ©2009 Neal Kramer
  109. 109. Catclaw acacia: source of new medicines?  Some chemical compounds found in Senegalia greggii  Beta-methyl-phenethylamine  Catechin  Fisetin  Hordenine  Phenethylamine  Quercetin  Tyramine © Project SOUND
  110. 110. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: well-drained, sandy soils are best  pH: any local  Light: full sun  Water:  Winter: needs at least 6 inches; supplement if needed  Summer: deep water several times in summer (Water Zone 1-2 or even 2)  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other:  Prune to shape as multi-trunk tree if desired  Size can be controlled by limiting water ©2002 Charles E. Jones
  111. 111. © Project SOUND Catclaw acacia  Used extensively as a small, water- wise shade tree – filtered shade  Nice accent plant; pretty shape  Useful for screen/barrier  Excellent habitat plant; can also be used in basketry 51
  112. 112. Like the other Peas, Catclaw acacia can accommodate a range of plants under and around it © Project SOUND
  113. 113. Shrubby understory options: more than you’d think  Some Salvias  Some Ribes  Rose family  Some bush Sunflowers  Even the Fairydusters, Creosote bush, smaller saltbushes © Project SOUND
  114. 114. © Project SOUND * Apache Plume – Fallugia paradoxa
  115. 115.  Desert uplands from 3,500 to 7,500 feet  Throughout all four south- western deserts -- Mojave, Chihuahuan, Great Basin, and Sonoran  In CA, Joshua Tree Woodland, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland  Fallugia is a monotypic genus of shrub containing the single species Fallugia paradoxa  Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne; Avail even through Monrovia Nursery © Project SOUND * Apache Plume – Fallugia paradoxa © 2009 Lee Dittmann,6721,6722
  116. 116. © Project SOUND Apache Plume: medium-large desert shrub  Size:  4-8+ ft tall  5-10+ ft wide  Growth form:  Semi-evergreen to evergreen – depends on water  Mounded form; many shrubby slender branches – good cover for birds, etc.  Shreddy gray-brown bark  Foliage:  Small, deeply-lobed leaves  ‘fine textured’ appearance – looks good with other shrubs  Roots: spreads by root suckering with abundant water © 2007 Jason E. Willand G.A. Cooper @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Patrick J. Alexander @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
  117. 117. © Project SOUND Flowers and seeds are very showy  Blooms: in spring – April-June in our area  Flowers:  Give a good clue that this plant is in the Rose family  2 inch pure white flowers like a wild rose – ooh la la  Like a rose, attracts many insects (butterflies, bees, etc.)  Seeds:  Have fluffy tails – very showy on the plant  Fade from pink to gold as they mature © 2010 James M. Andre
  118. 118. © Project SOUND Another desert wash plant  Soils:  Texture: likes a well-drained soil, but pretty adaptable  pH: any local  Light: full sun to part-shade – perfect for hedgerow  Water:  Winter: supplement if needed  Summer: likes occasional summer water, but very drought tolerant when established – Water Zone 1-2 to 2 (about once a month)  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other: inorganic mulch or very thin organic © 2009 Lee Dittmann © 2006 Heath McAllister
  119. 119. Managing Apache Plume  Prune in late fall/winter  Prune to shape & promote blooms (blooms on new growth)  Selective deep pruning of old branches (3 years or older)  Shortening of younger ones (up to ½ of length)  Hedge pruning/tip pruning in summer – makes it neater, too  Prune to rejuvenate  Cut oldest woody stems to the ground to rejuvenate © Project SOUND
  120. 120. © Project SOUND Gardeners are discovering Apache Plume © 2002 Gary A. Monroe  As an accent plant for beauty & habitat value – even in dappled or part-shade under trees  As a foundation shrub; informal hedges/hedgerows  In very hot, dry situations (parking lots; roadways) watering-bill-plants-that-survive-without-irrigation/
  121. 121. © Project SOUND *Desert ironwood – Olneya tesota
  122. 122. © Project SOUND *Desert ironwood – Olneya tesota  Sonoran Desert of CA, AZ and n. Mexico; Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego counties  In washes, arroyos, flood plains to 2500 ft. – sandy/rocky soil, intermittent water  Member of Desert Riparian plant community
  123. 123. © Project SOUND Desert ironwood is one tough tree!  Size:  15-35 ft tall (slow-moderate)  15-25 ft wide  Growth form:  Shrubby tree, often multi-trunk, mounded form  Attractive gray bark  Partially drought deciduous; evergreen with a little water  Foliage:  Leaves compound, medium- to blue- green, leathery  Sharp, curved thorns at leaf base  Very nice looking tree; long-lived  Roots:  Deep and shallow; shallow ones nitrogen-fixing desert-ironwood-trees-photos.html
  124. 124. © Project SOUND Flowers like orchids  Blooms: late spring into summer  Flowers:  Pea-shape; in clusters  Color: white, pink, lavender  Bee pollinated  Very pretty – showy – trees covered with blooms  Seeds:  In bean-like, brown pods  Edible seeds  Birds, animals love them!
  125. 125. © Project SOUND Very hardy Sonoran Desert tree  Soils:  Texture: must be well-drained: sandy, gravelly  pH: any local  Light: full sun; takes heat well  Water:  Winter: needs adequate  Summer: deep water monthly or less once established (Water Zone 2 or 1-2)  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other:  Will need to be pruned up – be careful of thorns  Plant 10 ft. from watered lawn; don’t over-water  Flower, pod, leaf drop – self-mulch
  126. 126. © Project SOUND Water-wise with the look of Crepe Myrtle or Olive  Good shade tree; becomes more dense with water, age  Often used in desert front yards – with Sonoran desert (or other Zone 2) plants (serves as nurse plant)  Attractive: needs few other plantings you/desert-ironwood/
  127. 127. Edible seeds are an extra plus!  Fresh seeds taste like fresh soybeans  Seeds can also be dried, roasted or parched and eaten as pinole, or ground into a flour  Can also be sprouted for sprouts (like bean sprouts) © Project SOUND you/desert-ironwood/
  128. 128. Desert Ironwood: the perfect foil for a range of understory plants © Project SOUND
  129. 129. Vertical elements  Columnar cacti (Cholla and others)  Penstemons  CA fuschia  Desert milkweeds  Euphorbia (including Baja spp.) © Project SOUND attract-wildlife-your-yard
  130. 130. Other interesting accents  Larger native grasses (Deergrass)  Agaves  Yuccas  Dudleyas & other succulents  Cacti © Project SOUND offers-desert-shade
  131. 131. Pines are often planted in S. CA – many are not well suited, even now © Project SOUND
  132. 132. If more shade is needed, natives from the Pinyon-juniper woodland can provide water-wise alternatives © Project SOUND
  133. 133. © Project SOUND Singleleaf Pinyon – Pinus monophylla
  134. 134. © Project SOUND Singleleaf Pinyon – Pinus monophylla green - Pinus monophylla subsp. monophylla blue - Pinus monophylla subsp. californiarum red - Pinus monophylla subsp. fallax  Tree of the Southwest: CA, AZ, NM and northern Baja California; in the dry mountain ranges of NV, UT, and southeastern ID  Pinyon-Juniper Woodland, Foothill Woodland between ~3000 & 7500 ft.  Widespread and often abundant in this region, forming extensive open woodlands, often mixed with junipers, Jeffrey pine, sagebrush & montane white fir
  135. 135. © Project SOUND Gardening with pinyons  Container or bonsai plant  Screen/hedge; good for mild, coastal conditions  Neat and bold appearance to a rustic tree whose gray color blends well with dry high-desert and mountain landscapes as well as modern and mediterranean gardens
  136. 136. © Project SOUND * California Juniper – Juniperus californica
  137. 137. Pinyon & juniper provide good part-shade © Project SOUND eae/Juniperus%20californica,%20California%20Juniper.html A surprising number of plants grow in the afternoon shade provided by Pinyon & Junipers
  138. 138. © Project SOUND * Colorado (Giant) Four O’Clock – Mirabilis multiflora
  139. 139. © Project SOUND * Colorado (Giant) Four O’Clock – Mirabilis multiflora  Southwestern U.S. from CO to CA and S. to Mexico  Locally in Tehachapi Mtns and Mojave, Sonoran Deserts  Open, sandy hillsides & mesas; juniper & pinyon communities; 2500 to 6500 ft.,5221,5231 px?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242415050
  140. 140. © Project SOUND The genus Mirabilis .. very interesting  Common name: Four o’ Clocks  In Four O'clock family (Nyctaginaceae). This family contains 28 genera and about 250 species.  The largest genus of the family is Mirabilis with about 60 species.  Name Mirabilis - Latin for "miraculous or wonderful"  The plant literally “erupts from nothing” – it truly is a “miracle”  The flowers open and close daily  May also be a reference to the beauty of these plants Wishbone Plant Mirabilis laevis
  141. 141. © Project SOUND Giant Four O’Clock – herbaceous perennial  Size:  1-2 ft tall  3-6 ft wide  Growth form:  Herbaceous perennial from a woody root; long-lived  Plant sprawls like a groundcover – or can be more shrubby  Entire plant quite succulent  Foliage:  Often blue-green but may be light green, toxic (don’t eat)  Leaves simple, succulent, may be sticky  Roots: very long and large taproot; don’t try to move established plant
  142. 142. © Project SOUND Flowers are fantastic!  Blooms: in spring/summer; usually May-June in S. CA  Flowers:  Large size (up to 1 inch)  Trumpet-shaped; ‘petals’ are actually colored sepals  Many – plant is covered with blooms  Very showy, amazing, sweetly scented  Flowers open in late afternoon, close in the morning  Attract many nocturnal insects, including the hawkmoths Sphinx chersis and Eumorpha achemon (the pollinators) as well as pollen- collecting bees visiting at dusk and dawn.
  143. 143. © Project SOUND One hardy plant!!  Soils:  Texture: any  pH: any local  Light:  Full sun near coast  Morning sun in very hot gardens  Water:  Winter: needs adequate  Summer: don’t over-water; Treat as Zone 1-2  Fertilizer: none needed – can take light fertilizer, but best with rock mulch  Other: cut off dead branches in fall/winter
  144. 144. © Project SOUND Giant Four O’Clock looks like a garden perennial  Excellent in mixed beds of water-wise shrubs and perennials  As a water-wise ground-cover  Used for erosion control on slopes  Attractive draping a retaining wall.  Showy, bright color in spring- summer  Excellent addition to the pollinator garden
  145. 145. © Project SOUND Velvet ash – Fraxinus velutina
  146. 146.  Southern California, s.w. UT & s. NV, east to NM, w. TX, south to Jalisco, Mexico  Canyons, arroyos, streambeds (higher groundwater areas); Yellow Pine Forest, Chaparral, Southern Oak Woodland, wetland-riparian  Collected by Leroy Abrams, Alice Eastwood, the Parishes © Project SOUND Velvet ash – Fraxinus velutina ©2016 Zoya Akulova
  147. 147. © Project SOUND Velvet Ash: moderately large tree  Size:  30-50 ft tall  30-40 ft wide  Growth form:  Woody tree; moderate-fast growth  Pruned to an upright leader, with irregular, mounding crown  Produces medium shade  Nice-looking tree  Foliage:  Winter deciduous  Medium-green leaves become yellow in fall©2016 Zoya Akulova ml?current_page=7&type=85&id=14894
  148. 148. © Project SOUND Plants are dioecious  Blooms: early spring (Mar-Apr)  Flowers:  Separate male & female trees; male’s pollen is allergenic  Flowers not that noticeable; small & yellow-green  Seeds:  Only develop on fertilized female plants  Winged samara; wind distributed ©2013 Neal Kramer
  149. 149. © Project SOUND Water-wise shade tree  Soils:  Texture: well-drained, but quite adaptable  pH: any local  Light: full sun  Water:  Winter: tolerates seasonal flooding  Summer:  Regular water to establish  Occasional water thereafter; Water Zones 1-2 to 2; deep water is best  Fertilizer: none needed, but tolerates lawn fertilizers  Other: choose plant with good central leader; pruning in first 15 years essential for good, strong shape. ©2017 Zoya Akulova
  150. 150. Fraxinus velutina ‘Modesto’  Much like parent species, though may be somewhat smaller  Moderate to fast growth  Generally does not set seeds  Provide deep watering regularly while establishing (first year) and then semi-monthly to help prevent surface rooting in lawn trees  Water at the edge of the canopy on a slow trickle for several hours. © Project SOUND
  151. 151. Fraxinus ‘Rio Grande’  Hybrid with a TX native ash  Spreading upright to 50’ tall and 30’ wide  Ample canopy of dark green foliage that resists wind burn, drought, cold, desert and intermountain conditions  Excellent shade, street, or lawn tree  Widely available © Project SOUND es/fraxinusvelutina.html
  152. 152. © Project SOUND Velvet ash  Widely planted as water-wise shade tree through-out the American Southwest  Large size – best for parks, commercial sites, schools, etc.
  153. 153. We’ve come a long way today © Project SOUND
  154. 154. We’ve been inspired by some interesting water-wise gardens © Project SOUND Escondida-Nw-Albuquerque-NM-87104
  155. 155. We’ve learned that water-wise gardens usually contain more than cactus © Project SOUND
  156. 156. We’ve discussed the human benefits of trees/vegetation  Improve human health and well-being  Reduce pollution/dust  Reduce noise levels  Decrease effects of extreme heat events  Provide habitat, food  Provide oxygen  ‘Calm and heal the soul’ © Project SOUND Trees have inspired writers, painters and other artists as far back as record goes.
  157. 157. We’ve learned some tricks…  Choose the right trees  Landscape/climate conditions  Size  Desired amount of shade  Other characteristics: flowers, foliage, shape, habitat, useful products  Place seating in shady spots  Provide an interesting understory  Contrast sunny and shady areas – need both for an interesting garden © Project SOUND Acequia-Escondida-Nw-Albuquerque-NM-87104
  158. 158. …and considered some awesome California Desert trees © Project SOUND
  159. 159. In the next few months we’ll continue our discussion of light & shade © Project SOUND nm-casa-serena-landscape-designs-llc-garden-walkway_2825/
  160. 160. We’ll consider how best to integrate plants from the Sonoran Desert with local native species… © Project SOUND San Antonio Botanic Garden
  161. 161. …including some wonderful scented plants that add olfactory interest to the garden © Project SOUND