Natives bothered by so much rain?

lynne3450March 27, 2011

My husband and I moved into our first home about 10 months ago, and through each season, we've been adding to our garden, mostly California natives and drought-tolerant plants from other regions similar to our climate (we're in USDA zone 10, Sunset 24).

Some of the plants include New Zealand tea trees, kangaroo paws, seaside daisies, sages (purple, Russian, Allen Chickering), fremontedendron, salt brush, matija poppy (sp?), verbena, snapdragon, etc. etc. More recently (3-4 wks ago), we planted a Western Redbud tiny start of a tree, some lupine, desert lavender, and lotus.

I'm concerned that the amount of rain we've had in LA this winter/early spring might be too much for these un-established plants. Do you think we're at risk for root-rot?

It's been on the back of my mind for a while now, so I thought I'd ask the experts here! Thank you!


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I've certainly lost natives in previous rainy years, but more from my poor engineering than anything else. They just drown if left in water too long. After re-shaping my beds and providing drainage to the street along the yard's northern exposure, I've had no recent problems (knocks on semi-wood).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 6:37PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

In time frames that native plants (not garden sports or selections) are adapted to, such years are totally in the realm of expectation. Not unusual.

The Great Central Valley completely floods to the situation of being an enormous, thousands of mi^2 lake for days-weeks every couple centuries, despite what the engineers tell you. Tulare Lake. Pineapple Express.

Not a problem for true natives if your yard reflects their native habitat and is not screwed up subdivision soil. If your yard is screwed up subdivision soil and not like where the natives are found, then its a crapshoot.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:23PM
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It is possible if the drainage is poor, but if your soil drains well and you have planned your grading accordingly you should be fine. We are lucky here that even with the close to 20" this season that there has not been any flooding. Our soil drains well enough that any puddles are gone within 20-30 minutes of a hard rain. Our natives and SW australian plants have thrived this year. We did get some wind damage from the crazy wind we had last Sunday.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:40PM
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yes-- wind damage here, too.

i guess waiting and seeing what spring brings us will be the only way of knowing...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 11:19PM
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California natives can take excess WINTER rains with no problems. Water in the summer when the soil is warm will kill many natives, but here in California we don't need to worry about summer rains. Al

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Something has happened to my Cleveland sage, but I don't think it is water-related. The top portion of it seems wilted, perhaps wind-whipped. Perhaps the woody part has cracked. Lower branches look fine. I'll have to get out there this weekend and see what has happened.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:42PM
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