Comments on seaside planting please

dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)March 16, 2014

My daughter and hubby are building on a seafront lot. The local authorities have decreed that these plants go atop the retaining wall at the beach. The lot is only 53 feet wide and this seems like an enormous number of plants to put into a small area. And, they will grow so high and wide that there will not be a view left. I would appreciate any advice or comments for them. There are 300 plants total.
31 Holodiscus discolor 1 gal Ocean Spray,
32 Omlearia cerasiformis 1 gal Indian plum,
46 Ribes sanguineum 1 gal red current
41 Mahonia nervosa 1 gal Oregon grape, ordinary kind, spreads
49 Rubus parviflorum 1 gal Bramble
33 Rosa gymnocarpa 1 gal wild rose
42 Rosa nutkana 1 gal shorter wild rose
8 Thuja plicata 1 gal Western Red cedar � 200� high, spread 25 to 60 feet wide
7 Pseudotsuga menziesii 1 gal Douglas fir 80 to 160 feet high, 20 to 30 feet wide
7 Cornus nuttallii 1 gal Pacific Dogwood, apparently very susceptible to anthrocnose,

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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I would question their credentials.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:48PM
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From this way this is written, it appears that the government is forcing you to jam 300 plants into a 53-foot area, and not giving you any choice of what to plant. If that is correct, why in the heck are they requiring that?

In terms of the viability of these plants right on the beach, salt spray would be my primary concern. I imagine that at least a few of the above would not make it. I've never seen Doug-fir growing directly on the beach, and that may be why. Mahonia nervosa is unlikely to survive in ample afternoon sun. Cornus nuttallii is a higher-elevation plant and a magnet for disease. Why these "authorities" would force you to grow Cornus nuttallii on a beach, but not Pinus contorta contorta, suggests that they know nothing about native plants.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:04PM
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Incredibly, amazingly, overplanted if all the above were included. And not all are good seaside/coastal type plantings.....many are much more woodland type plants that simply do not thrive in an exposed coastal setting.

I'd have to question the credentials of whomever provided this plant list as well. Far too many plants and many inappropriate choices.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:51PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I appreciate the responses. The family are not gardeners and are relying on the professionals to do what is required. I'm willing to go to bat for them but hesitate to interfere without backup. At the very least I'm going to ask for credentials of the beaurocrats who insisted on this list. The planner said she wants someone walking along the beach to look at the property and see a rainforest. It's all blackmail.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There are places on Puget Sound where Douglas firs are immediately above high tide line. What will grow on the Canadian site will be much affected by whether it is along an inland waterway like Puget Sound or actually on the outer coast.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 9:38PM
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Sitka spruce will make for a nice rainforest. Of course, that may also preclude those on the property from actually seeing the ocean.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:08PM
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George Three LLC

my guess is that there is a right of way at the property that gives control over planting to the local government. so this never was a choice that your daughter had to begin with.

so, if you think its stupid or not, its like arguing over pavement choices for the street. not really your business at this level. just plant those things and most of them will die anyway.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:53AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

The requirements should at least be reviewed by people more qualified than the original author.
Is there some back door connection to a local native plant nursery?
Just supposin'


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 5:13AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

For whatever reasons, over-planting is common on public projects down here.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:06PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Eeldip, you are right. The development permit insists on this type of planting. And, most of them will die anyway. The property is on a sheltered inlet although it does get winter storms and therefore spray. I just hate the idea of wasting money and effort planting inappropriate plants that will be a nuisance in the future. They did buy waterfront property in order to enjoy the view!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:59AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I've got the reason now for the 300 plants in such a small area. The local government requires native plants, 1 gallon size planted 15 inches apart. The landscapers who are quoting on the job know that most of the plants won't live and the ones that do will overgrow the area in a year or two. One said, "You can always move them to another part of the property". Such is beaurocracy.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:51PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes, presumably the over-planting down here is based on the same thinking also. More informed and sophisticated planning based on more detailed knowledge of the species used should serve to eliminate the presumed need for this, were it to be implemented.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:18PM
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I would let the landscapers plant, and then dig up the excess plants the next day.

This post was edited by OregonGrape on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 18:42

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:26PM
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What are the follow-up inspection methods and possible enforcement measures?

My guess: Not budgeted for by the local government, or else complaint-triggered enforcement only.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:26PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

They have to post a bond that they will plant native species, and they don't get their bond back for one year. I can't imagine the difficulties in digging up such over planted things after they are established. the 75 wild roses (if they all established themselves) would be a thorny issue. (sorry, I couldn't help myself)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:05PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Nootka rose - the taller of the two species rather than the shorter - is like most wild rose species suckerous and able to form patches.

The other is a forest species with small parts, liable to be seen as scattered individual specimens rather than clumps or thickets.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:19PM
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What a huge waste of time and money......just to satisfy some ill-informed, mindless bureaucracy!!

Even with native plants, about the only thing you would want to plant 15" on center would be the groundcover plants - salal, mahonia, kinnikinnick, etc. Maybe some beach grasses. Certainly no trees or shrubs.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

One of the conifers by itself would grow 53' across in time, if uncrowded and otherwise sufficiently successful.

This must be a shotgun blast aimed at coming out with at least something alive after a whole bunch of the plants fail to establish or are elbowed out later. This is what it appears is being done on projects here - duplication of a natural re-vegetation of a disturbed site wherein way more plants germinate and grow during the early years than will still be present at various time intervals in the future.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:20PM
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