Learn the different requirements to plant a native California plant
Days: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Most people have learned that the way to transplant a shrub into your garden is to dig a hole twice the size of the pot containing the shrub, and then to mix the native soil with 50% amendments and transplant your shrub. This works for just about every plant with the exception of natives. With native plants you want to do almost the exact opposite.
Instead of digging a hole twice the size of the plant, you want to dig a hole just deep and wide enough to contain the rootball of the existing plant. And, instead of combining the native soil with amendments, you want NO amendments. Instead, you should backfill with the native soil and use the remainder to build a small container to hold in the rainfall (not a big one, just big enough to keep water from running down the hill side.
The difference here is that you want to get the roots of a native into native soil as quickly as possible. This speeds up the growing process and helps reduce the stress on the plant.
Then, once you have the plant in the hole and you've backfilled with native soil, find a small native stone from the garden and set it close to the stem of the plant. Natives love to draw moisture from the stone in Summer time.
Finally, although you saved money on the purchase of soil amendments, you're going to spend that money on good native mulch. My preference is "Gorilla Hair", a redwood based mulch that forms a mesh-like base around your new plant. Again, natives love to draw small amounts of moisture in the summer months from the mulch and the stone.
Finally, and this is really important to help your plant with the shock of being transplanted; you should water the heck out of it the first time. I usually water it until the basin is full, let that soak into the soil, and then do it twice again within the first couple hours of planting. Then, I don't water again for a week. Each week in the winter or early spring I'll repeat this process until late spring. As soon as late spring hits, pull back almost completely on the water or you'll kill your new plants.
Good luck and happy planting.
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