The Last Spike

Folks are always fond of announcing the finishing of some project. Well, today, we are one day away from planting all TLW’s trees. Yesterday, I dug six holes and today we planted a Thuja occidentalis and five shrubs. All that remains are a cluster of Russian sage and five more Thuja and those will go in tomorrow. I’m pretty well finished mine too. I’ve a few hackberries in pots and a few baby sugar maples. The maples will likely not be planted until next year because they are so small yet. The hackberries may magically appear in the four corners of our lot, like anchors to the arboretum. They can grow to 60 feet in height and live hundreds of years. I tried that with Ponderosa pine and oak but things didn’t go well. It takes a lot to kill either of those but the oak died and the pine died back… so hackberry it is. I might leave the hackberries in pots, just repotting to something larger for next year, so that they don’t interfere with the imminent planting of the lawn.

We are a corner lot with just three close neighbours. One has a ton of trees, another has many and another has just a few. With two summers of planting we are definitely putting our property on the map.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in family, food, horticulture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Last Spike

  1. On the matter of hackberries, we had occasion to attend a combined birthday and retirement party for a friend. We gave one of our hackberry seedlings as a gift. Changing lifestyle to retirement requires some goals/activities and his yard has few trees…

  2. oiaohm says:

    dougman you just showing how dumb you are DPI spends time with their works and land holders and properly managers.
    Ahhh, so you’re a migrant vegetable/fruit picker.
    Stop wild guessing and you should be able to work out what one I am and no way in hell it that.

  3. dougman says:

    “dougman on the topic of farm crops I don’t need google search its a job I have done a lot of.”

    Ahhh, so you’re a migrant vegetable/fruit picker.

  4. oiaohm says:

    dougman on the topic of farm crops I don’t need google search its a job I have done a lot of. If I would use a google search at all it would be to find documents I already know exist.

    Where would your genius be if not for Google Engine search?
    Sorry like or not Google search engine is not my genius. I have worked with Australian Land Care doing land recovery work and stabilisation work as well.

    This is quite simply being in a topic that I know well. Here is a challenge google and find the documentation why Australian clearing rain forests. Guess what is not in the google search engine because its an area with robot.txt that google obeys. Now its in the DPI search engine if you have it.

    Really dougman you have believed a lie about what I am using.

  5. dougman says:

    “So another fact check fail dougman. I think it about time you stop using google to attempt to win point all you are doing is losing hand over fist.”

    HAM-FAIL: That’s the pot calling the kettle black, eh? Where would your genius be if not for Google Engine search?

    Think of it, your entire synaptic pathways are the result of a library index that you can type up at will. Isn’t the 21-st century great? Flat-earth and all.. my God, Galileo was wrong for hundreds of years!

  6. oiaohm says:

    April 1, 201612:35pm
    dougman always be careful quoting anything from an Australian news service that is dated that. April 1 is when they publish extreme option pieces even The Economist so every bit of that has to be taken with a grain of salt.

    So another fact check fail dougman. I think it about time you stop using google to attempt to win point all you are doing is losing hand over fist.

  7. oiaohm says:

    ram
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Artesian_Basin
    There is always a more complex issue to what is happening.

    Great Artesian water level is down so one of the ways to increase water level in it is clear rainforest.
    Stopping the deforestation and land clearing of Australia’s few remaining rainforests
    Welcome to the Australian nightmare jigsaw. To attempt to reclaim land all over the Great Artesian basin equal higher water draw out of the Great Artesian basin this means you need to get more water into it.

    So to stop land clearing rain forests in particular areas would require finding the money to run treatment plants to mechanically refill places like the Great Artesian basin.

    Both the ALP and LNP have been very shortsighted on these issues and all too inclined to take bribes from foreign “developers” and “investors”.
    This is both right and wrong. There are in fact long term reason why some of the clearing needs to happen then be reversed latter.

    Mostly because when early people with drilling equipment found water under ground in the Great Artesian basin and other basins of Australia they did not consider it natural filling speed and extracted way too much. Fastest way to turn the water level loss in those basins around is clear rain forest. Ok is not the perfectly ideal but if those inland areas lose even access to salty water forget using the area effectively.

    So some rain forest clearing is the correct thing to be doing at the moment due to how deep of a hole Australian natural environment is. Yes it is a case of needing to dig a slightly bigger hole to buy time to work way out of the hole of the mistakes made by the first people and first settlers.

    ram most people are not aware how close Australian environment is to almost total collapse. Just in the Great Artesian sections of salt bush have died to to dropped water level so allowing more area to turn to lose sand and brining the water level back up will let those areas be replanted. Yes is a really stupid one clear rain forest stop arid salt bush areas turning into totally unstable desert. This is rock and hard place that Australian environment loves doing to you. Over and over again its doing the maths of if I do this I can stabilise as much as possible with least damage. Australian environment is damaged past the point of being able use totally harmless recovery methods.

    I understand ram how you look at what the ALP and LNP have done and don’t see the logic behind it. Neither ALP and LNP want to display the science describing how far in trouble the Australian environment is.

  8. ram says:

    oiaohm makes a great number of valid points about salt and the Murray Darling basin.
    Those problems are truly difficult to solve. Stopping the deforestation and land clearing of Australia’s few remaining rainforests, however, just requires political will.
    Both the ALP and LNP have been very shortsighted on these issues and all too inclined to take bribes from foreign “developers” and “investors”.

  9. oiaohm says:

    http://www.sunsalt.com.au/about.htm

    This is a interesting one in the Murray Darling Basin. Yes the on going battle to prevent coveted arid land to usable land going backwards. Some of the reason the Australian government is not looking are doing a lot more quickly due to the cost keeping what has been converted.

    These salt extractions are interest as they are solar powered in a interesting way. Pools of high saline water used as heat traps to produce steam to power the process. Development on this method only started in 1997. To turn a lot of arid areas in Australia around we need more salt mining operations like sunsalt. So there is a type of mining Australia needs a lot more of.

    This is the problem it looks like the first problem is water with desertification when the first problem is salt. The methods of dealing with salt are getting more cost effective.

  10. oiaohm says:

    Do the pumping ahead of the “terraforming”. That should not harm the deserts. The trick is what to do with the salt. Piling it up and covering it with a tarp works. There are some industrial uses. It could also be dumped at sea.
    As long as you are able to replace the water at the rate you are taking it out it will not harm the deserts. You have to remember high salt tolerant plants like the salt bush are depending on the water and are holding sections of Australians deserts soil.

    Getting the systems in place to correct/control the aquifers is stage 1 for recovering Australian style deserts. Stage 2 would be attempting to plant the area most likely with more high tolerant salt plants that consume salt.. Stage 3 that could over 40-100 years latter start putting trees back. Yes this could take insane amount of time.

  11. oiaohm wrote, “So desalinated sea water and desalinated aquifers water would be required and the aquifer water being harder to treat than sea water.”

    Pump salty water into ponds in the desert and let it evaporate under the sun.

    I remember working at University of Manitoba Cyclotron Laboratory. Our primary cooling water was from a well. It was very salty. We joked about undermining the University because we pumped out so much salt. Decades at 300 gallons per minute is a huge cavern if it’s all in one place…

    Do the pumping ahead of the “terraforming”. That should not harm the deserts. The trick is what to do with the salt. Piling it up and covering it with a tarp works. There are some industrial uses. It could also be dumped at sea.

  12. oiaohm says:

    Australia has ample solar energy available and most of its coasts are surrounded by clean seawater. That could be desalinated and pumped inland. The first places this new fresh water could go is to replenish depleted aquifers, and then to areas that lost their rainforests relatively recently.
    ram not that simple. Lot of the aquifers even if you refilled them with fresh water the contained salt would still be tree extermination. Lot of them are 10 to 15 times the level of sea water now refilled between 1.5-3 times sea water in other-words tree death.

    So desalinated sea water and desalinated aquifers water would be required and the aquifer water being harder to treat than sea water.

    Oiaohm refers to most of this land as “private land” but it is actually pastoral leases granted to government insiders and their friends and families which was stolen from its original inhabitants/settlers.
    There is a problem here. Original inhabitants created the desert mess.

    ram something that is kinda shocking is the fact Australia now has less desert area than before Colonisation. So the sad reality was the original inhabitants was on a one way path to completely stuffed. Between civil war and bad land management no other outcome other than stuffed was possible. There are many examples of original inhabitants of Australia attempting to develop fish and cropped farming only to be invaded by a near by group. So land management skill development was basically impossible before colonisation due to much civil war.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-16/rejuvenating-land-after-mining/7418424
    It was the LNP who added to the rules for mining that rehabilitated cost has to be put into trust as well as plan to do it as part of mining approval.
    Right now mining companies just abandon the sites leaving them a moonscape.
    So that is not true any more. Yes mining companies use to get away leaving moonscapes. So newer mines after the rules changes by the LNP this will not be happening. Of course older mines that were done before the money was mandated to go into trust have left behind quite a mess to clean up. Please note the LNP has been under handed here to avoid direct government costs. All money new mines put into trust for rehabilitation must be used for rehabilitation so if a mine is fully fixed up and money is left over one of the existing moonscapes will have to have work done on it.

    Ram LNP has done something right and some things wrong. On mining making rehabilitation cost go into trust and be mandatory that has been a good change. Please note zero rehabilitation matches exactly how original inhabitants mined stone and other items they wanted. The difference is more modern mining without rehabilitation has done about 1000 years of original inhabitants damage in about 5 years. Interesting point is modern mining with rehabilitation is in fact less damaging than what original inhabitants use to get up to.

    Australia could become a really nice independent country IF ONLY it could get rid of the culture of entrenched systemic corruption that pervades its federal and state governments. Australia took a particularly bad turn during the John “Mugabe” Howard regime which rapidly turned Australia into another “failed mineral resource state”.
    It was John Howard who put forward the law mandating rehabilitation funds had to go into trust so mining companies could not just go bankrupt at the end of mining and then do no rehabilitation. So Australia was truly handing 100 percent on the part to a normal failed mineral resource state before John Howard after turned a little away from that direction.

    Ram I will not say that the LNP has done everything correctly. LNP vs what the original inhabitants actions LNP still managed to be better. I do agree a lot could be done way better. So between private funds being mining companies planting trees and government funds planting trees there are more trees and native plants being planted in Australia than before John Howard took government.

    Ram its all about the metrics you look at.

    There is another issue. Australia has some horible trees that are very deep rooted with no surface roots. Those trees are fine in forest with other trees around them but total hazard to soil if growing in big clumps. So some selective land clearing is required. So its not just plant more trees is also plant the right ones.

    Ram I would say the LNP hates spending government money to take care of nature but not against passing laws to mandate companies spend money on it.

  13. oiaohm says:

    Start from the coast and work inland. Increase the sustainable forest and it can spread. Trees don’t use up all the water from the soil and they help hold what comes in the rainy seasons. Some examples:
    This is the problem everything sound simple.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Artesian_Basin

    Desertification is very one direction bias. As area comes a desert more salt is washed into the underground water like the Great Artesian Basin instead of out to sea or to some collection area. So you start at Australian coastline and attempt to work inland without a salt removal plan not only fail to gain more tree area as the underground water table comes up you will lost the native plants that can live in the desert as well. So even less plants so sending the complete process backwards.

    Now this was so bad before coal seam gas fracking that may make the process of revering even harder by adding toxic chemicals to the Basins.

    http://www.murrayriver.com.au/about-the-murray/murray-darling-basin/
    This is 13.8% of mainline Australia. Massive alteration in water flows. Massive results in having to battle salt due to converting arid areas by adding water.

    Water that does not evaporate is not nearly as saline.
    The problem is as an area goes though the process of turning into a desert there are major cases where it traps the salt. So you have a saline battle because the water left and it had centuries of salt collection.

    So lack of water takes you down the process of desertification but its salt that makes it very hard to reverse. Israel has experiment with reversing deserts key thing they have found is if the under ground water is high salt and it rises your plans are stuffed. Israel in one case started 20 small areas out of the 20 small areas only 1 was successful after 15 years. The others had be exterminated because they had trigged salty underground water to rise with no way of taking that salt away.

    It takes time to kill the trees. It takes time to replace them and in reverse order.
    This is the problem you cannot just reverse the order cheaply because its not just about reversing the trees. Salt being washed into the ground water leading to the ground water getting more and more salt happens as part of desertification. You can have a desert made not due to lack of water but due to excess salt and it that salt that kills the trees. The salt kill can be insanely quickly. So this salt process has to be reversed.

    When a section of the murray-darling basin went salt wrong in 2 years a natural forest covering 20 square km was completely exterminated that is still attempting to be repaired. Means to lose trees lack of water is minor problem. Salt in a few years can prep area of desertification were lack of rainfall will take decades to achieve the same thing. Micro-climates need to stay living to work.

    http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farm-management/soil-and-water/salinity/saltbush-for-saline-land

    Yes saltbush quite a common Australian desert plant. Not because those areas of desert have no water. The water in quite large areas of Australian deserts is that salty it will kill anything that is not salt tolerant.

    The scary part about Australian ground water is lots of times it makes the sea water not seam to have much salt content at all. Yes you end up with soil samples with 1.5 times sea water salt levels or more.

    murray-darling basin project has been one of the biggest to turn arid land back into usable and we have not solved all its issues. Deploying solar power in the deserts of Australia to run water treatment plants extracting salt and disposing of it would have to be part any plan attempting to undo Australia arid core. Without that any attempt will fail the question is just how many years until water table comes up.

    Salt is what makes desertification one directional. Removing the excess salt once it collected is not short term or simple process or cheep process.

    This is why I say most people get it wrong. Most people think fix a desert is just add water when fixing a desert is add water remove salt. The most expensive part of the process is remove salt and do nothing to trigger more salt to leach in than you are extracting out.

    Price of reversing a desert is insanely high. Its insanely easy to make a desert is insanely hard to reverse it after you have. So if you can avoid making deserts in the first place do.

  14. ram says:

    You are right Robert, Australia could gradually be reforested. The first thing that needs to happen is they (the LNP government) need to stop uncontrolled land clearing. Oiaohm refers to most of this land as “private land” but it is actually pastoral leases granted to government insiders and their friends and families which was stolen from its original inhabitants/settlers.

    The next thing that needs to happen is defunct mine sites need to be rehabilitated. Right now mining companies just abandon the sites leaving them a moonscape. Those areas of Australia add up to what would be a medium sized European country in terms of area.

    Australia has ample solar energy available and most of its coasts are surrounded by clean seawater. That could be desalinated and pumped inland. The first places this new fresh water could go is to replenish depleted aquifers, and then to areas that lost their rainforests relatively recently.

    Australia could become a really nice independent country IF ONLY it could get rid of the culture of entrenched systemic corruption that pervades its federal and state governments. Australia took a particularly bad turn during the John “Mugabe” Howard regime which rapidly turned Australia into another “failed mineral resource state”.

  15. oiaohm wrote, “without the Y amount of water the trees you attempt to add in Australia Arid and grass land areas will not remain.”

    Start from the coast and work inland. Increase the sustainable forest and it can spread. Trees don’t use up all the water from the soil and they help hold what comes in the rainy seasons. Some examples:

    • When I was a child, my family used to go on summer vacations with a tent. One time we set up in the yard of my uncle a wheat farmer in very dry land. After we left, the ground where our tent was burst forth with rapidly growing grass because the tent had prevented drying. A canopy of shade trees does the same. The shading and evaporative cooling of trees lowers the ground temperature and conserves water. Water that does not evaporate is not nearly as saline.
    • Recently I walked a few yards into my neighbour’s yard. There was a serious drop in temperature just from the shade and evaporative cooling of his maturing trees. His yard was an oasis in the desert. About a third of my yard should enjoy that microclimate when our trees have grown. Australia needs to add a million microclimates to make an enjoyable climate.
    • Desertification is not a sudden thing. It takes time to kill the trees. It takes time to replace them and in reverse order. It can be undone since over long periods of time rainfall and temperatures don’t fluctuate that much. The oceans are still there pumping water into the atmosphere. Allow the rain to fall and collect it in vegetation.
    • I used to live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It rains there about once a year and is the hottest driest place I’ve ever lived. It’s surrounded by water on three sides. The problem? Very few trees, mostly date palms in oases/irrigated land. There isn’t a shortage of water but there is an inhospitable place for the rain to fall. Their coasts are semi-tropical too. They desalinate and pipe in water. They can grow any crop with irrigation. They could reforest but they just don’t bother.
  16. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson semi-tropical and tropical sections of Australia themselves are on the edge of becoming desert. So there is limited water to take.

    http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/goodliving/posts/2015/12/Salinity
    Next problem is when the trees were cleared from the centre of Australia is done the same thing that has started happening in the Murray-Darling basin.

    Ord river the latest Australian attempt to increase usable land puts a lot of work into managing Salinity.

    The issue is you need X amount of water to grow the trees/plants and Y amount of water to wash away salt build up what we call environmental flows. Yes without the Y amount of water the trees you attempt to add in Australia Arid and grass land areas will not remain.

    Doing it gradually would also make it more affordable.
    Doing it gradually is not really an option. You have to-do quite huge blocks. Preferably blocks with drainage to sea or somewhere to get the salt out.

    So volume of water to turn around Australian Deserts is insanely huge. So lesson from Australia don’t cause this problem in the first place the repair price is huge. The reason why the tree planting budget is never reduced it would be insane to attempt to.

    This is the common problem when people think about addressing land that has turned into desert they think it just add water. Problem lot of places to turn desert around add water and remove salt so a very large water bill and planned drainage. Desert rivers themselves leak more water out the bottom of them than rainforest rivers even on the same sand based soil type why the leaf material in bottom of river in a rainforest is missing from the Desert rivers. Yes the water you add going in just brings the salty Desert water table up killing what you have added over years.

    The salt is the barrier from taking on small areas at a time.

  17. oiaohm wrote, “even if you diverted every bit of water from the semi-tropical to tropical north to the interior there is not enough water.”

    That ignores the cooling effect of trees. If you do it gradually, say in stages of 10-20 miles at a time, the climate would gradually change. Cooler climate = more rainfall in those latitudes. After a couple of hundred miles, the northern rivers would be a more reliable source of water which could be pumped overland. Doing it gradually would also make it more affordable. A smaller fixed budgeted amount is more acceptable than some once in a century campaign. Politically, it could be sold on several fronts besides trees/water, like better habitat for people and wildlife, forestry, fishing, tourism and raising the living standards of people in more remote locations from the sea. It took millenia to defoliate the continent. It may take hundreds of years to make a dent. Doing it gradually would also make it easier to completely study the effects/consequences good and bad. Using solar power to do some of the work and to offset the costs makes sense.

  18. oiaohm says:

    I was thinking of using solar power to move water from the semi-tropical northern parts to the interior.
    This is the horible part about Australia is even if you diverted every bit of water from the semi-tropical to tropical north to the interior there is not enough water.
    Australia is the world’s second-driest continent (after Antarctica)
    Basically this fact is a super big kill joy to most plans.

    Total up all the rain fall landing on Australia average it across Australia and you would barely support any life. Its why insane ideas like trying to connect Lake Eyre to sea has been looked at only to work out the problem would be salt production on a insane scale. If you connected Lake Eyre to the sea in 100 years it would be completely filled with salt.

    Australia is a great example if you stuff a areas environment up the cost to repair it can be absolutely insane to impossible.

  19. oiaohm wrote, “To fill pipe lines with water you would be talking desalination in a big way.”

    I was thinking of using solar power to move water from the semi-tropical northern parts to the interior. Desalination would work too. Of course, too large a change would adversely affect a lot of the flora and fauna that have adapted to heat/dryness. It’s definitely a long term project.

  20. oiaohm says:

    http://theconversation.com/how-aboriginal-burning-changed-australias-climate-4454
    Robert Pogson its scary when you work out all the desert area in the centre of Australia was forests and that was stuffed before the english got here . Australia has a horible long history of very short term land planning causing quite large messes to deal with.

    The reality the water is a very big problem in Australia.
    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Australia's%20climate~143
    Australia is the world’s second-driest continent (after Antarctica)
    Only place drier than Australia is Antarctica. So there is not the volumes of water to just pump around. To fill pipe lines with water you would be talking desalination in a big way. Lot of Australian water under the ground is too salty as well to let lots of plants grow.

    Australia is really quite expensive little problem to fix up.

  21. oiaohm wrote, “I would say LNP is very split if they care of trees and native wildlife. LNP seams to care for wildlife on government land no so much on private land.”

    That seems very shortsighted. Australia’s ecosystem suffers from desertification in the interior. Trees are one of the best weapons against that because they shade the land below and anchor soil. If I were Australian, I would also be investigating setting up water pipelines to distribute the wealth in a big way. The interior would also be a great place to set up solar farms. The shade from solar panels would conserve water and the power could be used to pump water. Make Australia green again… 😉

  22. oiaohm says:

    http://www.nrm.gov.au/
    ram I know this might sound strange but the tree planting programs is one area the LNP governments has not cut budgets on. In fact there is more government no logging land every time LNP is in government.

    There is a lot of seams with LNP.
    1) they normally attempt to allow people to do more damage on private land.
    2) they normally end up collecting more government land to be make wildlife areas.

    So I would say LNP is very split if they care of trees and native wildlife. LNP seams to care for wildlife on government land no so much on private land.

  23. ram says:

    Glad you are planting trees. We certainly could use more people planting trees in Australia. Seems the present LNP government hates trees and native wildlife.

  24. dougman says:

    I’m turning over a cucumber bed soon, and going to sow in some broccoli.

    As much land as you have, you could be turning $50K a year using raised beds and selling at the local farmers markets.

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