Prudent Pruning - Notes


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Prudent Pruning - Notes

  1. 1. 1/6/2013Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Prudent Pruning Plants of the S. CA Chaparral C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSUDH & Madrona Marsh Preserve Madrona Marsh Preserve Gardening with Western L.A. County Native Plants November 6 & 9, 2010 Project SOUND - 2010 © Project SOUND © Project SOUNDThe chaparral tells an interesting story, if you how to read it What is the chaparral plant community?  Chaparral is California’s most extensive plant community.  It is also the state’s most characteristic wilderness  It dominates foothills and mountain slopes from the Rouge River Valley in southern Oregon to the San Pedro Martir in Baja California. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 1
  2. 2. 1/6/2013Chaparral Area in California by County (acres)* San Diego 1,003,441 Los Angeles 553,789 Riverside 499,160 Santa Barbara 440,645 San Luis Obispo 417,718 Monterey 369,345 Ventura 326,447 San Bernardino 276,010 Santa Monica Mtns - mostly higher elevations Lower elevations - San Gabriels San Benito 246,623 Santa Clara 188,427 Orange 111,550 Marin 37,566 San Mateo 36,152 Santa Cruz 32,328 *From Fried, J.S., C.L. Bosinger, and D. Beardsley. 2004. Chaparal in Southern and Central Coastal California in the Mid-1990s: Area, Ownership, Condition, and Change. USFS Resource Bulletin PNW-RB-240 © Project SOUND Malibu State Park Cleveland National Forest © Project SOUND How does chaparral differ from coastal sage scrub? Chaparral Coastal Sage Scrub 1. Often (not always) slightly higher elevation (500-4500 1. Often lower elevation & ft) & further from coast nearer/on the coast 2. Hotter summers; winter lows 2. Cooler summers: fog – more temperate in general 3. More rainfall: 20-40” per yr – 3. Less rainfall: 15-20” some may even fall in mid-late summer (summer monsoons) 4. Soil usually loam/clay Chaparral looks somewhat like Coastal Sage Scrub…. 4. Soil often rocky © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 2
  3. 3. 1/6/2013 How do chaparral/coastal sage scrub differ? Why Sclerophyllous Coastal Sage Scrub leaves? Chaparral  Small, Sclerophyllous leaves are advantageous in a semi- arid climate because they reduce evaporation thorough Xyloccocus bicolor a variety of traits including:  waxy coatings  thicker cell layers 5. More small shrubs (< 6 ft);  recessed stomata, the pores in5. More tall shrubs (> 6 ft); soft-leaved (‘soft chaparral’) leaves permitting evaporation sclerophyllous (hard-leaved) 6. Shrubs tend to be separated and the exchange of oxygen6. Shrubs tend to grow together with space between – can into a dense thicket walk though it and carbon dioxide © Project SOUND Rhamnus ilicifolia © Project SOUND How do chaparral/coastal sage scrub differ? Chaparral Coastal Sage Scrub 7. More complex understory:7. Fewer understory plants – too perennials, grasses dark under the large shrubs 8. Many summer-dormant8. Fewer summer-dormant plants plants © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 3
  4. 4. 1/6/2013 Walking through chaparral requires a path The topography has an effect on vegetation  The aspect of a hillside makes a great difference in the composition of the chaparral.  North facing slopes are a lot moister  Toyon, Manzanita, Scrub oak, Pitcher sage, Kekiella , and Poison oak.  The south facing slopes are arid: Remember: aspect also is important  Dominated by Chamise, Black in CSS – both are plant communities sage, Woolly blue curls and Bush poppy, (Dendromecon sensitive to topography (both have rigida). ‘sun’ and ‘part-shade’ plants) © Project SOUND © Project SOUND How do chaparral/coastal sage scrub differ? Evidence that fire has played a key role in Chaparral Coastal Sage Scrub Chaparral  Even-age ‘stands’ of vegetation – suggests recruitment/sprouting only after fire  Long-lived seeds that require fire/smoke to germinate  Rapid regeneration from specialized re-sprouting 9. Can remain as stable CSS organs – ‘burls’/lignotubers9. Successional community – climax community for a long tends to progress to Oak  Presence of fire-follower time Woodland or Pine Forest species – endemic to post-fire 10. Fire plays a key role in years/regions10. Fire plays a key role in clearing out underbrush; ‘setting the successional clock’ lesser role in the setting ‘successional clock’ SOUND © Project © Project SOUND 4
  5. 5. 1/6/2013Chaparral is a transitional community – atleast historically Does chaparral ever reach climax any more in S. CA?  The Chaparral is usually a successional plant community that gradually moves to oak and pine forest, if the soil depth supports it  Over time, just the presence of the Chaparral can change the actual characteristics of a site:  change the pH one unit  effectively ‘double’ the precipitation  produce a litter layer (mulch layer of leaves) in which the pines and oaks can germinate.  These changes only occur if the chaparral doesnt burn for decades or maybe centuries - no one really knows the time line. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Recovery after fire Characteristics of chaparral plants  Mainly woody shrubs  Takes 3-4 years  Chaparral communities in  Depends on species – California occur from sea level to first 2 years recovery high mountains. Each elevation has by either re-sprouting its own mix of species or seed  Plants like manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) Ceanothus  Soil moisture is (Ceanothus spp.) and chamise important – higher (Adenostema fasciculatum) are elevation and N-facing common themes in southern slopes in lower California chaparral. elevations do best  All chaparral plants in California  Ultimately, smaller are adapted to wet winters and species are crowded dry summers, and they like well- out drained soils. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 5
  6. 6. 1/6/2013 Chaparral plants are also good food Common large Chaparral shrubs: S. CA  Several species of scrub oaks - Quercus  Young plants and succulent foliage are berberidifolia most common and widespread. always a temptation – and easier to  Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) access  Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)  Ceanothus leaves are browsed by deer year-round  Various Ceanothus species  Rabbits, deer and other herbivores  Various manzanita (Arctostaphylos) species can browse heavily in fall/ winter  Laurel sumac (Malosma laurina) Deer eating Ceanothus  Sugar bush (Rhus ovata)  Holly-leafed cherry (Prunus ilicifolia)  Spiny redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia)  Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides).  Redshanks (Adenostema sparsifolia) Chaparral comes from the Spanish and means "having  Silk-tassel bush (Garrya spp.) Brush Rabbit scrub oaks". © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Chaparral shrubs are lovely Chaparral plants say ‘buy me, buy me!’  Evergreen foliage  Most have abundant springtime or summer blooms.  Berries add color in the late summer and fall when the rest of the region is drab.  Any given patch of chaparral will contain several of the common large shrub species but one or two will be predominant.  And then there are the showy smaller plants that grow in sunny patches…. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 6
  7. 7. 1/6/2013 And that’s how pruning figures into the story Buckbrush – Ceanothus cuneatus var. cuneatus © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Buckbrush – Ceanothus cuneatus var. cuneatus You’ve likely seen it in the wild…  Western U.S. from OR to N. Baja  Just another large shrub most of the year  In CA, common in  Covered with snow-like blossoms foothills except in in spring – some say reminiscent deserts & Central of a cherry or apple tree Valley  Common on dry, rocky slopes, fans & ridges, to 6000, in foothill chaparral, pinyon-juniper and yellow pine woodland,6589,6594,6595 © Project SOUND N. CA Chaparral © Project SOUND 7
  8. 8. 1/6/2013 Flowers: showy white Buckbrush has many characteristics of ceanothus Ceanothus  Size:  4-8 ft tall  Blooms:  4-8 ft wide  Mar.-May or even later at higher elevations  Growth form:  Depends on the climate  Fast-growing woody shrub patterns/ rain & temperature  Form usually erect, multi-stemmed – rarely prostrate  Flowers:  May assume shrub or more tree-like  Usually pure white, but may be form - may be variable because it a pale blue hybridizes with similar species.  Flowers quite large for  Bark gray Ceanothus – note the interesting shape - regular with  Foliage: 5 alternating petals and sepals  Small, simple leaves with waxy coat and 5 stamens growing opposite  Color: green to gray-green of petals  Roots: deep, much-branched taproot  Insect pollinated © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Fruits & seeds are Plant Requirements  Soils: typical for Ceanothus  Texture: well-drained preferred  pH: any local  Fruits are sticky, rounded 3-lobed  Light:  Full sun to light shade – capsules with “horns” common for chaparral shrubs near the top  Water:  Seeds are dispersed  Winter: needs good deep when the capsule winter rains explodes and propels  Summer: none to occasional (Zone 1-2 probably best) them some distance.  Fertilizer: use an organic mulch  Seeds remain dormant  Other: resents being moved; until a fire promotes plant out when small germination © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 8
  9. 9. 1/6/2013 Buckbrush Ceanothus makes a good large shrub Human uses of Buckbrush (and other  Wonderful for erosion control Ceanothus species and naturalizing on slopes  Good shrub for large-scale plantings  Tea from leaves and flowers  Good for dry, rocky hot sites –  Dyes: green from the flowers; not for near the coast red from the root.  Wonderful habitat plant:  Stands were burned & coppiced  Bees love nectar to produce young, straight  Larval host plant for White- shoots for basketry material streaked saturnia moth (Saturnia albofasciata)  All parts of plant can be used  Seeds eaten by bushtits, to make a mild, fragrant body mockingbirds, quail and finches soap or shampoo  Cover for many wildlife species including California quail, black- tailed jackrabbit, brush rabbit, and mourning dove © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Pruning lessons from Ceanothus Chaparral shrubs  Usually doesn’t need much – has a are very efficient nice natural shape – if treated correctly in the first few years  For plant health, remove  If a branch is no longer dead/crossing branches – will likely receiving adequate sunlight, the plant can have a few of these each year even self-prune that branch in a mature plant. - that is, allow it to die.  The understory of the chaparral is a tangle of dead branches.  If you don’t want that look, prune out the dead branches © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 9
  10. 10. 1/6/2013 Pruning lessons from Ceanothus  If you want to shape plants, start in the first year – after the first few years, the deer can’t get to the leaves to ‘prune’ them  Light tip pruning in the first few years promotes fuller foliage  Best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil – no self- respecting deer would eat anything larger (and tougher) than that  Use selective pruning to remove entire branches that are unwanted  Do light pruning right after flowering (summer pruning): flowers occur only on previous year’s wood - so if you remove that in fall – no flowers © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Pruning lessons from Ceanothus Chaparral Mallow – Malacothamnus fasciculatus  Can’t really limit size by pruning – will only shorten life  Choose an appropriate sized plant for the space – you and the plant will be happier © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 10
  11. 11. 1/6/2013 Chaparral Mallow: feature Chaparral Mallow – Malacothamnus fasciculatus depend on the setting  Many areas of CA that have foothills – N. CA to N. Baja  Size:  3-12 ft tall  Common shrub throughout chaparral and coastal sage scrub on dry slopes  4-12 ft wide; spreading and fans to about 2500‘  Growth form:  Often seen on disturbed ground and  Woody shrub along roadsides; fire-follower.  Stems are wand-like,5073,5079  Fast to moderate growth  May form a dense shrub or be more tree-like – depends on water, ‘pruning’, ?genetics  Foliage:  Gray-green (more green with water) rounded leaves  Softly hairy; pretty © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Flowers like a picture… Typical chaparral plant  Soils:  Texture: just about any, but  Blooms: likes well-drained best  Off & on from April  pH: any but very alkali (> 8.0) through fall  Light:  Heaviest bloom usually in  Full sun to part-shade spring  Flowers:  Water:  New plant: treat as Zone 2  Moderate size; ~ 1” across  Established: needs little to no  Typical mallow shape supplemental (Zone 1 or 1-2);  Color: pink (very light to  Will lose leaves in drought medium)  Over-watering will make it  Super attractive – lots of spread faster – and may kill the blooms along the wand-like plant stems  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Vegetative reproduction: suckers from roots © 2005 Janell Hillman © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 11
  12. 12. 1/6/2013 Chaparral Mallow: pretty & informal ‘Casitas’ cultivar  Lovely as an informal hedge  Upright habit  Super choice for a wildlife garden:  Nectar for: Hummingbirds, West  To 6-8’ tall and Coast Lady, Western checkered wide skipper, and Large White Skipper  Attractive gray-  Larval food plant: Gray Hairstreak green foliage  Cover and nesting sites  Selected for  Would work well in a chaparral or garden use Edwardian-themed garden  Available – TPF &  Large foundation plant others  Slopes & hillsides © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Watering lessons from Chaparral Mallow Pruning lessons from Chaparral Mallow (that impact pruning/management) (and other suckering shrubs)  Growth rate often dependent on water – faster with more water  Watering practices impact pruning  Often growth rate is inversely correlated with plant longevity:  Some plants will always ‘live hard & die young’ look informal – these are not plants that take to  Most mallows (and other spreading formal pruning, so choose shrubs) are opportunists: they accordingly. spread as much as water allows  Even if you limit summer water,  Work with – not against – most will still spread – for example the plant’s natural in wet winters. This is part of the tendencies plant’s survival mechanism – growing  This plant will not ‘stay in new shoots in areas where competition for light/water are place’ forever – needs to less spread out © 2009 Neal Kramer © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 12
  13. 13. 1/6/2013 * Creeping Sage – Salvia sonomensis * Creeping Sage – Salvia sonomensis  Foothills of the Sierras and coastal mountains of central & N. CA – also in the mountains of San Diego Co. into Baja  Chaparral, oak woodland, yellow-pine forest  Northern areas: dry, rocky slopes below 6500 ft.  San Diego Co: in the understory, with part-sun Remember: dry, rocky slopes in N. CA are not like our dry, rocky slopes J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Creeping Sage is a groundcover: true to  Soils: its heritage as a ‘Mint’ Plant Requirements  Texture: likes a well-drained soil – sandy or rocky best but  Size: clay is fine if not over-watered  1-2 ft tall  pH: any local  4-10+ ft wide  Light:  Growth form:  Best in light shade (dappled shade under taller trees or  Low to mat-like semi-woody shrubs) or morning sun. groundcover  Spreads with time – J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database  Water: branches just keep growing  Winter: likes good winter outward water; supplement in spring in dry years  Foliage:  Summer: Zone 1-2 best after  Grayish-green, elliptical the first year; can wash off leaves, woolly underneath leaves and puckered above  Attractive and aromatic  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils © Project SOUND © 2004 Christopher L. Christie © Project SOUND 13