Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Native planting in summer.

Planting in Summer


Planting is summer is not the most brilliant idea, it has all sorts of problems that we'll review here. BUT, it has some advantages. The advantages include getting another full years growth that you'd miss if you wait until the next winter.
Disadvantages may not even apply to you. If you're in town and have an automatic irrigation system most of these negative points are irrelevant.

The ground is hard. Now, city folks think they know hard ground; maybe, where you park the car on the lawn can be as hard as the rural soil can be. Watering the area a few days before you plant can help with planting. Check before you buy the plants to see if you can get a shovel into the ground.

Now, city folks have some gophers. In the country we have deer, chipmunks, wood rats, squirrels, etc. and gophers. If you're in town it is probably not an issue. In the country they will eat anything that is green or watered. So if you plant in a rural area and do not fence or cage everything until maybe December, the critters will eat your plants. Even the birds have eaten some of the plants. Vegetable gardens here require ammo and a fort. (But, it's usually more  like F-Troop in Fort Courage defending a tomato.)

The soil is dry. You have to water a lot to rehydrate it so new plants can survive. The soil may be so dry that it's hydrophobic. You may need to water it with a low volume sprinkler for 24 hours before it will even be ready for planting, and then another heavy watering after. Check with a shovel! Dig a hole like you were going to plant the plant. If it takes a day to dig one hole, that means you'll need to pre-water. If you put a sprinkler out there and water for 3 hours and the soil only got wet down a scratch, get a lower volume sprinkler and go long. DO NOT WORK WET SOIL. if you pre-water, wait until it dries out a little. Water to a depth of 2 feet after you've planted. and mulch with the right mulch. NO DRIP irrigation!!!!!! If it doesn't kill the natives outright, they'll be much more likely to be eaten and much more short lived. Use a sprinkler, micro/mini/spray/rotator. Just think DRIP DEAD!

Late spring and summer is also when the big hat ladies show up. Now there are some folks that are called big hat ladies, or the beige gang, or call themselves masters of the garden and are part of some team of elite garden  experts that think about blues, yellows and textures. If one of them show up in your garden in summer, give them a shovel, they'll usually leave. We've found the shovel to be a very useful tool in the garden. (Sorry, we had a few to many show up this week.)
Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), out in Creosote  woodland. If you try to plant where these rabbits are, cage the plants until 6 months after you stop watering. AND, do not water in summer or fall  after first season.  Water once in summer and the plant is eaten once, no more plant. - grid24_6
Most landscape contractors are going to do most of their work in summer.
Ribes speciosum,Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry,  summer dormant. - grid24_6
With no extra water many native plants go summer deciduous.
Salvia Pozo Blue and Diplacus Ramona in beach sand. - grid24_6
Many coastal gardens are wonderful to work in in the summer.
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