Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Fri. & Sat. from 9am-4pm
8331 Nelson Way
Escondido, CA 92026
Tues. to Sat. from 9am-4pm

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us. Update: Bert's Memorial Open House will be May 24.

Lawn Substitutes for under Pines and Oaks in California's Coastal forests

These are plants that will cover the ground and require no water after they have been established ( If they are planted in or near the areas they are native). They don't mind the pine needles or oak leaves that fall on them. And your native wildlife can use them! They don't require the fertilize or soil disturbance that will harm the Mature oaks and pines in the coastal forests.

California strawberries (Frageria Californica)

Wild California strawberries (Frageria Californica) makes a beautiful ground cover for under coastal forests. It also has the advantage of having really delicious strawberries. It will grow great under Coast live oak trees or pines. It is happiest near the coast where it will get more rainfall.


The strawberries are a very deep red when ripe and are very rich. If they get a little more sun the patch seems to be denser and there are seems to be more strawberries produced. The Berries are smaller and are held up in the air off the dirt and away from bugs that might eat them.

Dichondra spp.

Dichondra spp. makes a nice lawn substitute. Here it was growing under Monterey pines with Soap Plant(Chlorogalum sp.) and Star Lily (Zigadenus fremontii). As of now ( when this page was written) we are having trouble growing this one, so we don't have any in stock but hopefully that will change soon. This is a really neat little plant and it makes a great lawn. Hopefully will figure out it's little eccentricities.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) makes a feathery lawn. Here it is growing under a dense canopy of Monterey Pine trees. It likes the pine needle litter that comes with living under the pines and it has pretty white flowers that attract butterflies. No more raking pine needles. No water required and no fertilizer appreciated.

The feathery leaves of the Yarrow plant grow close to the ground. When the plant flowers it send up tall flower clusters. These can be chopped off or you can have a part time flower garden part time lawn.

Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii)

Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii) is a mint that you can make tea with. The fragrant leaves are shiny and don't itch. That is always a nice quality if you are thinking of taking an afternoon nap on your lawn. In the above picture Yerba Buena is growing on a slope, climbing over fallen branches of Monterey pine and very deep leaf litter.

Yerba Buena can form a dense low ground cover. This is in our demonstration garden under coast live oaks near Santa margarita, without water.

For more plants that can grow under oaks and pines see The shade garden page

For more on oak care see our Oak tree page