Citrus in Clay, on a Steep Slope?
I've been reclaiming my long-neglected backyard with the intention of planting a handful of citrus trees into a mini-orchard. The problem is, I only have an area about 16' deep and 50' wide with which to work, on a steep slope (35-45 degrees).
I've read up on the bathtub effect and presumed that I would have to plant in raised beds because of my clay soil, but the prospect of doing that on this slope sounds a little daunting. How would I go about it, half-moon shaped retaining walls made from blocks? How wide would the diameter need to be, and how deep the soil? Sounds expensive and labor intensive for 8 or so trees...
As I've been clearing the brush and myriad stumps from the area I've discovered two things that I don't know whether or not change my equation:
1) My clay soil is loaded with earth worms (the area has been receiving extensive fallen leaf coverage for years without any cleanup)
2) I can't put a shovel down anywhere without bringing up 5-8 interweaving root systems (all of the recently removed shrubs and trees, many roots 1-2" thick!)
Do these discoveries at all impact my ability to plant directly into the clay soil, or am I still stuck with raised beds? Have the roots and worms done some loosening for me? Is there another option I'm missing? Containers are not the direction I'm looking, I need to permanently enhance the now-barren lawn for potentially selling the house in 3-7 years.
Thanks for any help!