Adapt Adept Adopt

Episode #697

June 11, 2022

To master a thing:
adapt, adept and adopt.



i adapted my method of planting trees to suit the granite alluvial plain where i live. 

Previously, in the Orange County basin, i could just dig a hole and plant the tree. The soft top soil in my back yard was six or more feet deep. i was in the basin of the Santa Ana river. The hole was easy to dig. The sandy loam was good for drainage. There was little need to fertilize or amend because the loam was rich in minerals and organic material. There were no gophers to eat the roots and few pests to damage the foliage. The weather was Mediterranean. 

In Aguanga i live at the base of a granite volcano. The soil is compacted decomposed granite. Some plants thrive in this soil. Rain is more rare in the mountain chaparral, but the clouds form a thick, moist fog as they scrape over the mountain. Manzanita, Ironwood and Red Shank grow and flower year round. Wild flowers are a rainbow of color.
I cannot, however, just dig a hole. At first i dulled my shovel just scratching the surface.

So i bought a jackhammer. The jackhammer easily fractured the compacted soil. i was able to dig a hole as deep as necessary. Once dug i filled the hole with water. Decomposed granite drains extremely well and softens as it does. Once soaked, the hole became workable to shape and groom.  i fitted the hole with a gopher cage which protected the roots. The cage extended above the ground to protect the tree trunk from squirrels and rabbits. A 50-50 mix of native soil and compost gave the tree the nutrients it needed with a dash of Miracle Grow for good measure. With regular irrigation my trees thrive.


After planting a dozen trees on my property i have become adept at growing them. i learned that i needed a better water supply to support all my planting so i added an auxiliary tank to my water well. The 3000 gallon auxiliary tank is slowly filled by my well pump, reducing the amount of silt in the water which can be caused by rapid pumping at the well bottom. Outboard of the auxiliary tank is a demand pump which provides 50 lbs of pressure at a plentiful 11 gallons per minute of silt-free water to my home and irrigation system. Silt clogs irrigation valves, causing them to stick. This either floods or dries out the trees. My auxiliary tank system is extremely adept at supporting all my trees and plants.


i have adopted these planting techniques as my standard operating procedure at my new home. When discussing planting challenges with my neighbors many have bought a jackhammer and gopher cages to make planting trees easier. They have adopted my techniques and their trees and plants have flourished. 

Those who use my planting method adapted their previous method, became adept at the new way and adopted it as their own.


  1. Jeff Laun June 10, 2022
  2. Chuck Iverson June 10, 2022

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