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3) No Fertilizer is Necessary for Local Native Plants

Another advantage of using local native plants is that they do not need fertilizer. They quite naturally thrive in the nutrient poor soils of our dry areas. Avoiding the use of fertilizers will save you time and money. It also prevents ecological problems at two different levels that can result from unnecessarily introducing nitrogen into the environment. From the point of view of the native garden, fertilizers are counter-productive because they invite the resurgence of weeds and unwanted exotic plants that compete with the natives in your garden. From an ecological point of view, nitrogen fertilizers can make it to surrounding natural areas from run off or through storm drains after rains. This can cause long-lasting problems in soil and aquatic environments downstream by changing soil chemistry or nutrient levels in ways that are harmful to native areas.

The down-side of this issue is that natives are not made for garden soils. This is not often a big problem, but it does happen that some of the more sensitive native plants can be finicky when they are planted in garden soil that has been highly fertilized. For example, the local wild lilac (Ceanothus verrucosus) seems more sensitive to garden soils than Coyote Brush (Baccharis), Sagebrush (Artemesia Californica), or Lotus scoparius, which often function as pioneer species in establishing a native plant community. Over time, and as more native plants get established in the garden, the soil problems lessen.

Questions? Comments? Please feel free to contact us
by e-mail at northparknativeplants@yahoo.com
or by phone at 619-846-0585.
We look forward to hearing from you.

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