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.

Resource Islands

The term Resource Island was given to me by Gabor Bethlenfalay from Oregon State when he decribed a resoration in La Paz Mexico. I've adapted that thought into California and  it's native plants and wildlife.
If you're trying to restore a habitat or create a wildlife corridor you never have enough resorces. No one wants to pay the $50,000-100,00 per acre that is needed to do even a passable job in restoration of a native system. Weed control alone can eat up $1-5,000 per acre per year and you'll need to do that for at least 3 years. If you have a 50 acre ranch or farm you're trying to restore, very few of us are willing to, or have the ablity to pour that kind of money down a squirrel, deer, or rabbit hole. Thus resource islands.
Each resource island needs a fence to protect it from deer, rabbits and sometimes squirrels. The fence should be 30-50 ft. across and 6 ft. tall with chicken wire or small mesh covering the bottom 2 ft. or so. The islands should be between 100 to 300 ft. apart. If you only have the resources for one enclosure, put it about 100 ft. from an existing oak, pine or other native tree or bush.
an old photo of a fence in Carrizo Plains - grid24_12
The further you are from town and the drier the site, the better the fence had better be,
Each resource island usually needs water for the year. We usually use a microsprinkler, rainbird or MP-rotator to water a full circle and we put the fence line where the circle of water covers. If the circle is larger than 50 foot the deer will jump into the enclosure and actualy live in the 'safe house'. If you like to gamble, you can try these without irrigation, on wet years they will or just fine. On dry years you will lose the entire planting.

The resource island should include a mixture of pioneer and secondary pioneer plants from you area. Here are a few lists for different areas of California. Use at least 5 species in each island.

Central coast from Santa Barbara to Salinas and inland as far as Paso Robles and King City. These may work in Livermore, Patterson and maybe along the west side of the valley up to Davis. Los Banos south is too dry.

After a year or so, turn the water off and take the fence down. You can move it to the next section for the next years planting. After a few years you'll have islands everywhere.