Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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

Native Plant Class Notes

Las Pilitas native plant class (from Spring 1994, updated 2003, 2012)

An ecological overview of California native plants:

Understanding of the ecology of the site helps reproduce a viable plant community on the site. The more history, soil, plants, weather that can be matched to a nearby viable site, the more successful the landscape, garden or restoration will be.

Dry stack wall with miner's lettuce - grid24_12
Rock wall in a California native plant garden

In nature there are no absolutes, all are biases. It is the equivalent of your diet and life style. If you drink and smoke heavily, overeat at every meal, and use drugs, it is more likely you will have health problems. The more things are wrong with your landscape design the more likely it will be a weedy mess.

Plant communities

If you try to define the community of California, the dominant variable is the relationship between plants. Animals, insects, even people seem to follow where the plants have been.

Plant communities should be viewed as living systems. Native landscaping is easy if you put the plants back into the community where they live. Coastal sage scrub plants get planted into coastal sage scrub gardens and Gaia lives.

Mycorrhiza

90% of the native plants in California's Wildlands are mycorrhizal and thus interconnected. Isotopes have been used to trace the invisible links. That is, isotopes placed in one plant turn up in another. Native plants share moisture and nutrition. This interconnection is accomplished by many types of fungi, as a group they are called mycorrhiza, meaning Fungus root. Mycorrhiza provide a much larger root system, 100 times longer, and up to 2000 times more surface area. Mycorrhiza develop a soil community that supports friendly bacteria, nematodes, springtails, earthworms, etc., and inhibits herbivores and pathogens.

Yucca in the chaparral plant community. - grid24_6
The chaparral Plant community has all sorts of unusual plants.

Think of the underground mycorrhizal system that exists in most native systems as a large interconnected savings account or the immune system for all the native plant roots.

Mycorrhizae and Plant communities

This shows up in stable plant communities by total weed suppression. If the plant is not part of the community it is not allowed to survive. Regeneration of the community only occurs after a fire or some other major disturbance.

New plants are not allowed to regenerate within the community unless there is a 'hole' in the pattern. (This showed up in a test in Mojave, where the plants had been scraped off there was a higher survival rate of planted plants than where the plants were planted in between the existing stand. The whole is more important than the individual.)

It is useful to view a plant community or your garden as a living being with an immune system. (Gaia) Think of it as one large organism instead of lots of little ones.

Mycorrhizal roots

For years we couldn't figure out why all the books, our biology classes, articles, etc. talked of pearly white roots. We have only a few species in the nursery with pearly white roots. Although you cannot tell if a plant has mycorrhiza on it by visual means,  we've noticed a general trend for only the non-mycorrhizal plants to be pearly white. This is apparent when non-mycorrhizal weeds come up in a pot with a mycorrhizal plant.

Types of Mycorrhizal fungi

There are three dominant types of mycorrhizas, the Ericoid, Ectomycorrhiza and Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM). (And the Orchids but we'll ignore them.) The Harley's (as quoted in Fitter) found that the woody plants of Great Britain are 40% VAM, 20% VAM & ectomycorrhiza, 20% ectomycorrhiza and 20% Ericoid. California. seems to be a little higher in VAM and lower in Ericoid with ectomycorrhiza about the same.

VAM mycorrhiza live on natives as diverse as wildflowers and redwoods. VAM is not visible to the naked eye and a pain to identify. VAM has been neglected until recently because it is so difficult to track.

Root pattern of a Oak, manzanita or Ceanothus. Oaks need about 4-6 ft. of soil, Ceanothus and manzanita can survive on 2-4 ft.
California native plant roots.

Soils with little organic matter that are low in Phosphorus favor VAM plants. Deserts, grasslands, tropical forests may be the same species of VAM for miles, all interconnected.

Ectomycorrhizae occur on all Pines, Oaks, Firs, etc. They are visible to the naked eye and can be orange, yellow, brown, or black. Soils that are low in phosphorus and nitrogen favor Ectomycorrhizae. Ectomycorrhizae occur in temperate forests, some chaparral and tropical forest areas. Ectomycorrhizae are the stress tolerants in all the Mediterranean climates except S.Africa. The largest of this fungus to date was 5000 acres. This fungus covers that many acres, but it does not exist alone, an oak or pine tree may host 150 species of mycorrhizal fungi, all with a different niche on the tree. Some are favored in winter, others in summer, some favored by clay soil, others sandy. A forest may have 2000 types of fungi all co-habitating with little or no competition. They recognize each other and each live in their own niche. In a normal yard there may only be 20 or so. Ectomycorrhizae live above VAM, just below the litter layer.

Ericoid overlap greatly with the Ectomycorrhizae. Sometimes one fungus can be one type on one root and another on an adjacent root. This occurs quite often on manzanitas. Soils that are high in organic matter, but low in both Phosphorus and nitrogen favor Ericoid plants. Ericoids are not dominate anywhere. The largest area I've seen is in the sandy plain around Ft. Bragg.

A great deal of the garden annuals and perennials are non-mycorrhizal. Most weeds are non-mycorrhizal or facultatively mycorrhizal (They are associated with a fungus only where it helps them). Non-mycorrhizal plants occur where there is adequate nutrition and moisture.

Climate, community (plant & soil), and soil type are equally important.

You cannot separate the three, they all influence each other.

Climate: The most important aspect of climate is the amount of rainfall and how it comes down. For example, Monterey's summer fog drip increases that area's rainfall by 40% or so. The 25 inches of rainfall they receive is actually closer to 35 inches. The summer fog decreases the summer desiccation and keeps the mulch moist. (This is one of the reasons so many manzanitas live in that area.) Many of the desert areas get small amounts of rain all year. This plays havoc when they are planted in an area of seasonal rainfall, and the plants often die of drought unless they are part of that community.

Soil: The climate often makes the soil. Rainfall areas of 10" or greater rainfall usually have neutral to acid soils, areas of less than 10" usually are alkaline. If that rain never comes in large numbers the alkalinity is greater. Plants can modify pH one unit; in extreme cases, nearly 2 units. If a plant comes from a soil pH greater than 2 units from yours you cannot have it. It will survive poorly at best. The plants can modify, but not alter the basic nutrition available in a soil. If the plant grows in serpentine clay, it will not be able to grow in sandy loam, unless the plant was part of that plant community.

Plant community: the plants and microganisms that grow on a site depend on these factors. Certain manzanitas for example like clay others like sand. Some plants like high acidity others more basic soil. On the other hand in many areas the plants play a huge role in soil type and rainfall. For example along the coast of northern California huge redwoods help catch fog and cause it to condense adding at least doubling their rainfall. These trees could not grow in these locations without that added rainfall. The shadscale scrub has a similar role in the central valley in collecting tulle fog. Also many plants will drop their leaves lowering the pH of their soil.

Looking up into the redwood trees. The tallest trees in the world are California native plants. - grid24_6
Tall trees in the forest are like the skyscrapers in the city. These trees create their own climate.

Survival Strategies of Plants

(also see companion planting)

Grime came up with three types of strategies for life forms. These are universal and apply to all life forms.

Stress Tolerant native plants

(S plants)

Stress tolerants include many of California's forest, chaparral, and woodland plants. Long droughts and soils with poor nutrition favor these plants. Stress tolerants are as the name implies, very tolerant of stresses. They generally grow moderately to slowly. Stress tolerants are very efficient. They will keep each leaf until it has lost efficiency. Then the energy is removed before the leaf is dropped. Stress tolerants have long lives and 'look' at everything in long terms. Stress tolerants often have alternate means to survive stress. They may draw from the fungus, close most of their stomata, or live off of their carbohydrates when under stress. They are always mutualistic and live in fungal based soils.

An Anna Hummingbird on a Austin Griffin manzanita picture. - grid24_12
A hummingbird on a Howard McMinn manzanita flower. Wildlife needs native plants. This plant is stress tolerant.
Pinus monophylla in the rocks at Joshua tree - grid24_12
Pinus monophylla in a stressful situation.

Characteristics include:

Drought tolerant
Bug free, when not watered, or fertilized, or otherwise molested
Likes low fertility mulch that matches its community

Hates being fertilized
Hates amended soil, long lived, 50 years+

Some examples:

Some Oaks

Manzanitas

Ceanothus

Pine trees

Joshua Tree at  Joshua tree - grid24_12
Joshua trees are in the Lilly family but can survive for a hundred years. A little at a time.

Circumventors (C plants)

(Grime used the word competitors, people do not understand the way the name is applied so we've changed it to circumventors.) Circumventors shut down if they feel drought or cold, Circumventors build their cycle around the stresses of their associated communities. Many of California's chaparral plants go summer dormant to avoid the drought-stress. Many of our wildflowers only germinate on wet years. Our bunch grasses are circumventors because they live long lives but will not show themselves on dry years. In our ecosystems circumventors are along the seasonal creeks, and between the perennial creeks and dryland. They'll often act as water and nutritional shunts between sites. Many circumventors can have both VAM and Ectomycorrhiza on their roots. (Most circumventors are VAM though.)

Characteristics include:

Many flowers during their flowering period and usually are not weedy.

Community oriented (provides support for the fungal grid and animals)

Can be very drought tolerant by avoiding drought

Disappears or goes deciduous under stress, only to reappear when the stress is removed.

Can be long lived. Common life spans are 5-500 years.

Amphibians fit this, as does the poker player that folds a lot.

Examples include:

Fruit trees

Cottonwoods

Monkey flowers (Diplacus forms are summer deciduous as they dry out, Mimulus are mostly ruderal)

Many oaks

Most native riparian species (except the ruderal types that are along the disturbed margins)

Penstemons

Redbud

Most native sages


Ruderals are the weeds.

They live by competition. They're the first to flower and the first to seed. Ruderals are favored if there is fertility, moisture, disturbance and a messed up plant community. Ruderals only care about themselves (their species). They are non-mycorrhizal or only mycorrhizal if it suits their needs.

Characteristics include:

high nutritional needs*** high water use

Inefficiency at all levels, all is sacrificed for reproduction. Lots of flowers, lots of seedlings.

'Weedy' growth designed to outgrow its neighbors, reproduction can be completely overwhelming.

Insect damage, many of our most troublesome pests live on weeds. Weeds are the host plants for almost all the problem insects.

A short life (2 weeks to 5 years) with many seedlings.

Hard to kill or control as the seeds can be viable at 10% maturity and there are so many produced. Kill the first crop of weeds, a second crop comes up, kill that crop and a third crop shows up . . .

Weeds are individualistic to their species (as starlings). Weeds try to create anarchy.

Very competitive (any fungi or bacteria associated with them are also ruderals), even with themselves.

Ruderals can lead to the collapse of a stable native site. Ruderals favor soil bacteria. Ruderals often kill stress tolerants by exclusion of the fungal partners. Ruderals need bare ground (no mulch layer)and favor bare ground.(They create bare ground by favoring frequent flashy fires, soil slippage, bacteria, rodents (gophers, mice, voles), and other factors that expose soil.) Once the weeds come into a site or garden, things get difficult, as hand weeding favors ruderals.

Bromus tectorum, (Anisantha tectorum), Cheatgrass Downy Brome June Grass - grid24_12
Foxtail is a non-native ruderal that prefers bare soils and burns very well. So more fires with it present and more of it after a fire.

Examples include:

most garden veggies, family Brassicacea

Sweet alysum

Bromus sp

An aside: Things that may apply to ruderals do not apply to circumventors and stress tolerants!

Sweet Alysum (Lobularia maritima) is native to the Mediterranean area and east to Armenia, North into France. Sweet Alysum is an annual mustard that can cover large areas with its weedy habit, then die in midsummer.  A ruderal. - grid24_12

Getting rid of ruderals

Infection is hard to get rid of without antibiotics (you can't hand remove each infection site), as ruderals are hard to remove without herbicides. In a native ecosystem herbicides=antibiotics. They are less invasive and more weed specific.

If you have a staph infection on your arm, scraping it off with a knife will not help your body. Hoeing weeds is similar. Not all herbicides are equal. The auxins like 2,4-D or 2,4,5-T move through the system and can kill the native species. Many of the long term sterilants are a big no no. they kill all the good soil organism and make the site ripe for weeds. If you do not know what is a weed, or what kills what, learn, or hire someone that does.

Insecticides, are a different matter. If there is a bug invasion on a native plant or other xeriscape type plant (circumventor or stress tolerant) you did probably something wrong! Their plants immune system should keep the bugs off. Ruderals are insect food. Since ruderals only care about reproduction they spend almost no energy on protection. Natives are the opposite of conventional plants, you should not have to spray.

Fungicides are death to drought tolerants because you will kill the endophytes, above ground and below ground.

Confusing symptoms

Plants that live in sandy soils often cannot match the mycorrhiza and associated microflora that live in clay and thus look chlorotic. Tilling in soil amendments only helps ruderals. Plant material that is native to an area with a soil pH no more than 2 units different than yours. A soil fungus that grows in soil pH of 5 will not generally survive a soil pH of 7.5. Remember pH is logarithmic. pH 5 is 100 times more acid than pH 7.

Who likes what?

Highly fertile soils that have been disturbed (tilled, disked, etc.) favor ruderals. Growing broccoli?

Low fertility, undisturbed, drier sites favor natives. Weeds have trouble, natives flourish.
Treat soil as a living being. You would not like fertilizer tilled into your skin!

Amendments, polymers, fertilizer, and water for ruderals; water a little extra for circumventors, a little extra water in spring only for stress tolerants(or none at all)

Stress tolerants need 'fluffy' soil, compacted soils favor ruderals. Stress tolerants and to a lesser degree circumventors create a highly aerated soil. Native fungi and friendly bacteria live best in “normal” air oxygen levels and common soil. Do not be 'dumb as dirt' and amend or fertilize your natives.

Fertilizer favors unfriendly bacteria and thus ruderals. Fertilizer can kill a stress tolerant in hours because the mycorrhizal sites are replaced by pathogens.
Creosote scrubland in summer on a dry year. Parts of California get almost no rainfall, but still come alive once a year for a few months.. - grid24_12
Creosote woodland looks dead on a dry summer day, but there can be more diversity here than a heavily timbered forest.

Bad ecology in practice

Example 1: In some of the Midwest corn fields the farmers have fed their corn excessive fertilizer or years. Corn is VAM mycorrhizal. The fertilizer has bred the remaining fungi to a 'soft' or 'garbage' fungi that is actually parasitic to the corn. The farmers are forced to add more and more fertilizer and sprays to keep their yields the same.

A field of corn south of Lemoore - grid24_12
Rows of GMO corn in the San Joaquin Valley. I'm not sure how much further you can get from a plant community.

Example 2: the USDA is breeding single species mycorrhiza to inoculate clones of the most aggressive trees they can find. The results are very impressive in the lab and nursery but the mortality in the field is very high and the resulting forests are very unstable. Instability means high mortality, weeds, insect damage, herbivore damage, etc.. Once you see or develop a stable site you'll never accept less. University Oregon at Corvallis tests has shown that for a forest to be stable you have to have other species besides pines and firs.

Example 3: For years we had our customers watering once a month after the first year, gradually reducing the watering to once per summer. As we got a closer match to the site's needs we got reports back that 30% of the plants died a week after they watered. The plants looked fine before the watering, but a week later were dead. We've heard the same reports over and over after a fertilization, a spraying or 3 years on drip irrigation. The reasons for these losses are all the same, summer watering, fertilizer, and drip favors bacteria. The plant will 'drop' its mycorrhizal association unless it is under slight to moderate stress. When it drops its fungal partner all those sites on the root are immediately replaced by pathogens. So a Fremontia or Ceanothus will be glorious one day and dead the next, with one heavy summer watering.

Example 4: Where the plant is grown matters only if the climate is much 'softer' than your site. Plants grown in very mild climates cannot adapt to harsh climates.

Stahl and his group did a study with Glomus mosseae a common VAM fungi, they collected spores from Oceano carrot fields, Sage Brush fields in Utah and Wyoming. They grew grasses in a greenhouse in Wyoming with these three fungi. In the greenhouse the carrot fungi grew 8 times better. When these same plants where planted out however, the situation reversed, the carrot fungi were 5% mycorrhizal and the sagebrush fungi were 70% mycorrhizal.

Remember you can give extra water to stress tolerants or circumventors only during their normal moisture cycle, i.e., Mediterranean plants in winter-spring, desert plants a little extra in summer, and forest plants in spring-early summer. All the plants like to have their foliage washed off regularily.

California Native plant Community plantings:see also the plant community pages

Look to mother nature and plant using plants of the site's community and soil type. The closer to matching the garden's plant community, the better the planting behaves. A perfect match will not need to be watered, weeded or managed after three years. Matching the plant community also matches the climate. Forget the Sunset zones, match the plant community as the climate has already dictated the plant ranges. The second best choice is to choose plants from the associated groups. (Habitats, or plant type). The third best is choice are plants from the same type soil and plant community from around the world.

Plant the R types near the water source, the C types next and S types as far as possible from the water source.

Don't put the horse before the cart!

The planting order is:

1. Kill the weeds with a weed killer like Round-up.

2. Remove any large debris.

3. Put down pre-emergent.

4. Put down 3-4" of mulch for plants from communities that have ectomycorrhiza.

5. Plant.

6 Water.

Or

4. In communities with no ectomycorrhiza present, plant and place a large rock next to the plant.

5. Water.


Dominant Type California Forests

High Seasonal rainfall. These folks complain about a 'drought' when their rainfall drops below 25 inches. 1-3" mulch is required by the plants!

Plant community

Dominant Mycorrhizal fungi (most to least)

Rainfall

ectomycorrhiza, ERICOID,VAM

50-90 in

Closed cone pine forest

ectomycorrhiza, ERICOID,VAM

40-60 in

Douglas Fir Forest

ectomycorrhiza, ERICOID,VAM

40-60 in

Yellow Pine Forest

ectomycorrhiza,VAM, ERICOID

30-65 in

Red Fir Forest

ectomycorrhiza,VAM, ERICOID

40-65 in

Subalpine Forest

ectomycorrhiza,VAM,ERICOID

30-50 in

Lodgepole Forest

ectomycorrhiza,VAM,ERICOID

35-60 in

Non-native equivalents: Maine, N.Europe, Japanese Forest, Canada

White fir in the Mt. Pinos area. Incredibly slow for us. - grid24_12

Dominant Type Desert/Pond

Regular rainfall (even if it is very little, its always very little)

Wet places with limited community structure (precipitation includes fog drip)

Plant community

Dominant Mycorrhizal fungi (most to least)

Rainfall (in) and other characteristics

Coastal Strand

VAM, NON(at water line)

15-35in, High during summer-fall, high salt

Coastal Salt Marsh

VAM, NON(water line

25-35in, High during summer-fall, high salt

Freshwater Marsh

NON in water,VAM on edges

Always moist, winter wet

GRASSLANDS AND PERENNIAL PLACES

These next two are warm communities that rarely see hard frost. Dry summers.

Plant community

Dominant Mycorrhizal fungi (most to least)

Rainfall, and other characteristics

Coastal Prairie

VAM

20-35in, Mild

Valley Grassland

VAM

7-35in, Hot, This community can see frost at anytime, is a desert 9 months of winter, and a near swamp in summer.

Alpine Fell-Fields

NON, VAM

30-40 in, Cold

Mountain Meadow

NON in water,VAM on edges, ectomycorrhiza in bogs

Always moist, spring wet

non-native equivalents: pampas, American prairie, northern marshes

COLD DESERTS (also called steppe communities)

Plant community

Dominant Mycorrhizal fungi (most to least)

Rainfall, and other characteristics

Northern Juniper Woodland

VAM

7-12 in, the ground freezes to 4" or more

Great Basin Sage

VAM

7-10 in, the ground freezes to 4" or more

Sagebrush Scrub

VAM

5-15 in, the ground can freeze most years to 1-4"

Non-native equivalents: steppe areas of Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, etc.

HOT DESERT

areas of minimal hard frosts (winter temperatures usually stay above 25 deg. F.) and where the ground does not generally freeze

Plant community

Dominant Mycorrhizal fungi (most to least)

Rainfall, and other characteristics

Creosote Bush Scrub

VAM

5-10 in

A short video about Yucca brevifolia, Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree Woodland

VAM

5-10in

Shadscale Scrub

VAM

2-7in

Alkali Sink

VAM, NON

1-5in, very dry

non-native equivalents: desert areas
The Shadscale plant community in spring.
This is a shadescale plant community in spring. Like the Creosote image above, it vaporizes in summer.

Dominant Type Mixed plant communities

Both forms of mycorrhiza are present and the forms that exist here are mutually supportive.

Very Irregular rainfall or large seasonal change. In many of these communities fog drip accounts for much of the precipitation. These are the transition communities that live between Dominant California Forests and Dominant Desert

WOODLANDS and SCRUBLANDS

In these communities ectomycorrhiza and VAM are dominant in mosaic patterns between the trees or manzanitas. The energy capture of the communities are based on forbs and wildflowers that are VAM, plus the majority of shrub-covered areas are VAM. ectomycorrhiza covers the surface layers between ectomycorrhiza plants, VAM covers the rest of the area and below the ectomycorrhiza 6-12" Boulders near each plant and mulch between plants is best, but just mulch is OK.

Has a strong Plant community

Dominant Mycorrhizal fungi is patchy between VAM and Ectomycorrhiza

Rainfall, and other characteristics are summer drought and wet winter

MILD

Coastal Sage Scrub

VAM ,ectomycorrhiza,ERICOID

12-25in, (Little summer heat)

Northern Coastal Scrub

VAM,ectomycorrhiza,ERICOID

35-70in, (Little summer heat)

Redwood Forest

VAM,ectomycorrhiza,ERICOID

40-60in, (High humidity,low heat)

Mixed-evergreen Forest

ectomycorrhiza,VAM,ERICOID

20-60 in

Northern Oak Woodland

ectomycorrhiza,VAM

30-40 in

Non-native equivalents: So. France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, S.E. Australia, N.Zealand, S. Africa

COLD

Pinyon-Juniper Woodland

VAM,ectomycorrhiza

7-12 in

Bristle-cone Pine

ectomycorrhiza,VAM

12-15in

HOT

Southern Oak Woodland

VAM, ectomycorrhiza

15-20 in

Foothill Woodland

VAM, ectomycorrhiza

15-35in

Islands (This one is a location rather than a community. I still find it useful.)

VAM,ectomycorrhiza

15-25in

Chaparral

VAM, ectomycorrhiza,ERICOID

12-35in, (High summer heat)

A Blue Oak woodland, part of central oak woodland with shooting stars and deciduous trees. - grid24_12

Non-native equivalents: Western Australia, N. Venezuela, Israel, Algeria

Riparian(rivers&creeks)

VAM,ectomycorrhiza,NON

always near a water source

The riparian trees generally move water up into the plants on the banks. To do this many are both ectomycorrhiza and VAM.(Salix,Populus, Alnus,wet land Oaks, Betula etc.) We view lawns as a riparian area.

How to put together natives and non-natives. It is useful to think of these as ecological equals or native plant substitutions for common California garden plants.

Callistemon (Bottlebrush)=Myrica californica

Ceris canadenis=Cercis occidentalis

Cotoneaster (another nasty weed) =Toyon or Mahonia

Dodonaea(Hopseed)=Acacia= Bush Ceanothus

Eucalyptus=Coast Live Oak (with an attitude)

Indian Hawthorn, Raphiolepis (a weed on the hillsides of Hong Kong, go figure)= Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn'

A short video about Chilopsis linearis, Desert Willow

Indian or Mock Strawberry, Duchesnea indica. (An invasive weed) why don't you use a native strawberry?

Lagerstroemia (Crepe myrtle)= Desert Willow

Lantana=Eriogonum umbellatum

Lavender=low coffeeberry or Native sages such as 'Alpine'

Leptospermum = Shrub Manzanita that likes sandy soil and tolerates salt spray

Liquidamber=Sycamore

Olive=Silk tassel

Privet Hedge=Toyon or Cercocarpus alnifolius hedge

Rockrose=shrub manzanita

rosemary= buckwheat

Santolina(this baby burns)=Baccharis

Pale Swallowtail, Papilio palamedes on a Salvia clevelandii Alpine - grid24_12

Sunrose=low manzanitas groundcover=Arctostaphylos edmundsii

Natives for transitional areas between watered and dry areas (Between a lawn and a dry slope, or between a lawn and oak tree.)

There are many more of these, look at your individual site or an adjacent area for more ideas.

California natives

Cercis, Redbud

Cercocarpus, Mountain Mahogany

Chilopsis, Desert Willow (in desert gardens only)

Cornus, Dogwoods

Fraxinus, Ash

Juglans, Walnut

Malus, Crab apple

Myrica, Wax Myrtle

Populus, Cottonwood

A short video about western redbud.

Prunus, Cherry, Plum

Quercus, Oak

Rhamnus, Coffeeberry, Redberry

Rhus, Poison Oak, Squaw Bush, Sugar Bush

Ribes Currants, Gooseberry Rosa Roses (wild preferred, hybrid ok)

Salix, Willow

Sambucus, Elderberry

Non-natives that can do the same thing

Acacia, Fruit trees, Ilex, Holly, Leptospermum, Tea Tree, Melaleuca, Roses, Sunroses, Thyme, Ulmus, Elm.

If substituting, don't forget:

The Non-natives do not provide much support for the native insects, animals and soil fauna. It is important to include and least some community specific plants in all plantings. A 'wildlife garden', bird garden, or butterfly garden is nothing more than a community(and adjacent) specific garden.

Other stuff

Weed control and a California Native Plant garden

How to plant California native wildflowers.

A Short lesson in planting, mulching and watering California native plants

Native plants, mulch and amendments in garden soils. Oak, chaparral, pine mulch all fine, redwood is better. Use straw to make a weedy mess. Green waste is a waste.

Drought tolerant California Native Plants need little or no water. Water, first watering is 50% of the water needed, second 25%, third 12%,etc , Drip irrigation, is bad! But water well.


Other class notes:

Birds and Butterflies
Common Diseases, Pests of native plants
Frankia and California native plants
Garden Myths about California Native Plants
Incredible Edibles
Landscaping with California Native Plants
Native Oaks and Mycorrhiza
Native Herbs
Planting seed or plants after a wildfire
Weeds