Where's the POOP?
"We are starting a landscape project at our house, I thought I would share the plant list and the landscape contractor's planting strategy."
"All plants will be installed with organic planting compost, fertilizer tablets and
Where in the wild does that much fertility and organic matter occur? Maybe along the banks of the Nile or Tigris–Euphrates river system, but not even the richest areas of the California delta can approach the level that the trade seems to think plants need.
Do children need a dozen donuts and soda to start their morning properly? Would you feed an infant mocha instead of breast milk? It drives us a little crazy that folks keep doing the exact same thing over and over again. It was wrong 50 years ago, and it's still wrong.
The myths about native plants being short lived are almost all because of the addition of fertilizer, soil amendments and drip irrigation. Put a Ceanothus in an amended hole, fertilize it and water it 10 minutes a day with drip, add a little summer heat and it will die in a few seasons. Treat it like a native plant and it will live for at least 20-50 years, sometimes 150 years.
Think about it, where in California is there chicken poo dug into a hole with a native plant growing in it? Where in California is a bunch of compost dug into the ground? Where in California is the soil getting a cup of water poured onto it daily? It kind of sounds like a latrine right?
California used to have a combination of mulch and rocks that the plants grew with. Their roots and immune system depends on this low fertility mulch layer.
If your native plant 'expert' is recommending fertilizer, soil amendments or drip irrigation, find someone else or do it yourself.