Best Management Practices Toolbox
Plant Selection - General
Properly selecting and placing vegetation can significantly minimize the costs of maintaining gardens. Native landscapes are adapted to the local climate, insects, and soil, so they require less water, pesticides, and fertilizer. Consequently, these landscapes also require fewer chemicals and less time input from gardeners.
The purpose of this best management practice is to reduce water and chemical use in vegetated areas.
- Choose native plants. Do not assume something is native because you have seen it in your area. Contact your local nursery for information or visit the California Exotic Pest Plant Council website at www.caleppc.org.
- Contact California Native Plant Society for more information on native plant selection. www.CNPS.org
- Some plants attract “good bugs”. These are referred to as “insectary plants” create a less hospitable habitat for pests. Some examples include:
- Aster (Aster)
- Baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii)
- Calendula (Calendula)
- California lilac (Ceanothus)
- California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
- Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum)
- Coriander (Coriander sativum)
- Cosmos (Cosmos)
- Coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis)
- Dill (Anethum graveolens)
- Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana)
- Fleabane (Erigeron)
- Holly-leaved cherry (Prunus ilicifolia)
- Monkey flower (Mimulus)
- Native buckwheat (Eriogonum)
- Pincushion flower (Scabiosa)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia)
- Sunflower (Helianthus)
- Tidy-tips (Layia platyglossa)
- Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
- Yarrow (Achillea)
- Zinnia (Zinnia)
- Monitoring your plants will allow you to see if pests are at work in your yard.
- Some tolerance for damage may help to prevent use or need for chemical use.
- Mechanically pull weeds to reduce the need to spray herbicides.
- Place plants so that they will not outgrow their location. Pay attention to the anticipated height and width of the plant even if it may currently fit the location. Many native plants in an appropriate locations may not need pruning.
- Keep in mind that initial planting of native plants will require watering until the plants become established. Once established water may be cut back depending on the need of the plant.
- Also pay attention to how the roots of trees and shrubs may grow. Tree roots are a common cause of blockages in sewer lines and foundation problems. Problem trees include poplars, willows, figs, rubber trees, large eucalyptus trees, fruitless mulberry and the Modesto ash. For more information visit http://www.sewersmart.org/prevention-4.html
- Minimize the amount of grass on your property. A conventional lawn requires intensive upkeep and often contributes to high runoff. A small area of turf or groundcover near a patio or window view will maintain the look and feel of lawn with out a large area to irrigate. See http://www.recycleworks.org/greenbuilding/sus_lawnarea.html for alternative options.
- Drought tolerant plants also make good sense in a southern California landscape. Visit www.bewaterwise.org for more information.
Implementation may be limited by the availability of native and insectary plants.