Coastal Sage Scrub 90-180 cm rainfall
Shrub Acidic (Europe) 50-90 cm
Scrub 31-64 cm
East Australian Scrub (Health) 35-90 cm
W. Australian Scrub 40-60 cm
S. Africa heath(Fynbos) 35-90 cm
Shrub Basic(Europe) 40-64 cm
represents this habitat?
The trees are small or limited to the north slopes and
Little or no open areas. The brush covers the hillside at a height
of 5-10 ft..
This habitat is commonly the
precursor for the woodland
communities. If fire is suppressed for 300-500 plus years the
site can become a woodland. (The trees will establish in the deeper
soil areas.) If fire is not suppressed and
allowed to burn in intervals of less than 30 years you will
have a grassland after 3-10 fires. (Savannas tolerate fires
well in short intervals, chaparral needs an interval of 70+
(S.Cal.& Arizona) to 500 (N.Cal.) years to be stable.) If
your house is in this habitat plan for an inferno. Look at the
help file on fire protection, fire chimneys, planting in fire
areas. Native plants from the area are actually very effective
in stabilizing the slopes and reducing fire susceptibility as
long as you know what to do. . These communities are awesome
when you get them right. We've clicked some sites in one step
from a weedy field to a clean native site that needs no
further inputs and the native species from the surrounding
areas start seeding themselves back in. Life is easy when
these sites are correctly put together. Common plants are
Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Salvia, Diplacus, Rhamnus, Ribes,
etc. in Calif.. In Australia common plants include Grevilleas,
Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paw) and Leptospermum (Teatree). In S.
Europe common plants are Cistus, Rosmarinus, Lavandula, and
Where does the habitat occur?
This habitat is the most common one in the populated areas
of Calif.. Many areas of the state have had the brushlands
completely destroyed by aerial seeding, burning and cattle
grazing. Most of the hillsides of Los Angeles used to be
covered with brush. Now, most are a 'desert' of alien, annual
grasses that burn each year. In Australia, S. EUROPE, N.
Africa, S. Africa and parts of Chile this habitat is also
Why does the habitat occur?
habitat commonly has shallow acidic soils on hardpan. Soil
depth is commonly 1-36", reddish in color, and a has a pH
of 5-7. Some sites have acidic clays that are reddish brown to
bright red, others are sandy and varying in color from red
through white into black. Soils are waterlogged in winter,
dusty dry and hard in summer. The shallow, acid soils favor
brush over grass or trees.
Then there a some areas of heavy chaparral in Southern
California that have clay soil and a pH of 7.8... just to make
When to plant:
Planting ease is in this order: spring is easiest, then
early summer, late winter, summer, winter and fall. If there
are no deer or other herbivores to eat your plants fall moves
into the space between early summer and late winter.
How to plant:
1. Mulch is mandatory for all drought tolerants. Organic
mulch mixed (on the surface, not worked in) with boulders is
usually best but organic mulch or rocks and boulders also
work.Good mulch like oak or pine chips is great. Lawn
clippings, compost, etc. is BAD.
2. Water and fertilizer has a profound effect on this
habitat. If your site interfaces with a wildland area water or
fertilizer can have a negative effect for a kilometer (500
yards) into the wildlands. The people often critical of the
appearance of 'brush' are the ones that are killing it with
fertility and water while they're dumping their weeds and
trash in it. A little extra water in spring is ok. Washing the
foliage off regularly is also ok. Leach lines, septic tanks,
pool water, runoff from lawns or parking areas are all deadly
to a brushland. Seeding with anything other than
site-specific, pioneer wildflowers (true ones, not lawn in a
can) is very detrimental to the health of this ecosystem.
Thinning the vegetation on an existing hillside and
mulching is better by far than removing all vegetation and
replacing it with iceplant or grass.
4. With the shallow soils that brushlands live on it is
best to stay with brush type plants. The root systems of these
species are very specialized; they literally help to hold the
hillsides together and are able to wring much more water and
nutrition from the soil than the average plant. Pick the best
ones from your area and work as much as possible with those.
1. If you plant shallow- rooted plants and overwater, you
slide down the hill.
Brush is usually fire adapted and needs a fire every hundred or two
hundred years to restart. Weeds that have followed man have made the
situation much worse and some areas burn every year as the brush is
replaced by weeds and houses.