Water Requirements for Establishing Native Plants

applebuilder(North Orange County (SoCal))July 2, 2009

I live in Orange County, California, and I was wondering how much water native plants need while they're being established. On a weekly basis will they take more than my lawn does? Thanks.

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Hi applebuilder,

On an earlier posting, maifleur made a very important point about the fire risk associated with native plants in your particular area. I would definitely keep this in mind when planning any landscaping. Artificial irrigation will be required no matter what you plant in your area.

As maifleur mentioned in her post, it may be that native plant landscaping may just not be practical or safe in your area, especially in close proximity to your house.

Since fire is such a serious issue, I would consult with a local professional organization about your landscape plans.

You can contact the Orange County Fire Authority, or your local fire department to see what they recommend as far as landscaping and fire safety:

There's an organization called the Firewise Community that I would also check out:

Here's a web page about fire-resistance and Orange County:

The Orange County Native Plant Society may also be of some help:

You may also want to post the question regarding your lawn replacement project on the GardenWeb's "California" forum, and see if anyone on that forum has suggestions for fire-resistant landscaping.

Hiring a professional landscaper that will assist you with creating a fire-resistant landscape plan may also be helpful. Sometimes landscapers will be open to being hired for consultation only, and then let you install the plants yourself, which can save you some money.

Hopefully through some research, you will come up with a landscape plan that is fire-resistant, eco-friendly and easy to care for.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:38PM
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In my area, providing enough supplemental water to get them through the first year is important, the same as if I had planted non-native plants. When it comes to the first year, they are no different.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:28PM
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applebuilder(North Orange County (SoCal))

Thanks topie, you really helped evolve my garden design and the links were very useful. Ater doing some extensive research I've come to the conclusion that there are some native plants suitable for fire safe landscaping and I believe my county has a list of such plants. I've also come across a very helpful website called laspilitas.com and I plan on doing some more research.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 1:17AM
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You're very welcome applebuilder--your plan sounds right on track. That's great you've been finding some resources, such as the list from your county of native plants suitable for fire-resistant landscaping. Wishing you much success with your lawn replacement!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 8:11PM
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