En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Trees and shrubs for adobe soil in Penngrove CA

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - June 19, 2010

From: Penngrove, CA
Region: California
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Trees and shrubs for adobe soil in Penngrove CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I'd like to find a list of trees that are native, drought tolerant and suitable to the adobe soil in Penngrove. We will be landscaping a bare .5 acre parcel starting later this fall. Another feature that would be nice is "fast growing". Taller shrubs are on our list as well. Thanks, KM

ANSWER:

We are going to assume that when you refer to "adobe" soil, you are referring to heavy clay, not materials for building pueblos. This article from Dave's Garden offers a Definition of Adobe Soil.  The pages on individual plants in our Native Plant Database ordinarily list the soils, light requirements and moisture needs of the plant.  Many plants can live in clays, but to make sure that is what you have in your area, we will check not only that the plants we recommend will grow in Northern California, but also in the Sonoma Co. area, USDA Hardiness Zone 11.

Before we go any further, we want to remind you that you don't have to "live" with clay soil. We don't mean you can dig it up and haul it away, but that it can be amended and improved before you put a lot of time, money and plants into growing in it. The biggest problem with clay soils is that they have poor drainage; water gets trapped on roots and the roots drown. That turns out to be one of the most frequent reasons for plants not doing well in a place where they should have done well-poor drainage. 

Since you will be planting in the Fall (the best time), we suggest you read our How-To article on A Guide to Native Gardening.  A little planning in advance can make a world of difference in how a garden does. Let us also recommend that you read Planting Techniques for Trees and Shrubs from North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. And, on the subject of "fast-growing" trees, we will do our best, but you  need to realize that many fast-growing trees are short-lived and begin to break down and be subject to disease too early. There is no Instant Garden.

Follow each link to the page on that plant and for more information, scroll down to the section "Search Google for...."

Trees for Clay Soil in Sonoma County, CA:

Cercis orbiculata (California redbud)

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (birchleaf mountain mahogany)

Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine)

Shrubs for Clay Soil in Sonoma County, CA:

Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry)

Calycanthus occidentalis (western sweetshrub)

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (blueblossom)

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush)

Holodiscus discolor (oceanspray)

Rhamnus crocea (redberry buckthorn)

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (common elderberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cercis orbiculata

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Pinus contorta

Umbellularia californica

Amelanchier alnifolia

Calycanthus occidentalis

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Fremontodendron californicum

Holodiscus discolor

Rhamnus crocea

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

Symphoricarpos albus

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Non-native ligustrum in non-native fescue in Medina TX
May 22, 2013 - Is there an effective way to kill baby ligustrums coming up in my fescue yard without harming the grass?
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to white-tailed deer from Austin
April 01, 2013 - Could you tell me whether American Beautyberry and Blackfoot Daisy are usually eaten by our Austin white-tailed deer, or not? I get different answers in different publications. It would be great to ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native shrubs for poor drainage area in Cedar Hill, TX
March 21, 2008 - Hi! I have one (big!) bed in on the front of my house. Due to the way the house/motorcourt is built, that area (when it rains as much as it did last year!) doesn't drain well. I now have to replac...
view the full question and answer

Plants dying in circular garden in Killeen, TX.
July 31, 2012 - I have a large circular garden in my backyard out in the country in Killeen Texas. Last year two elms died. This year the Rose of Sharon has been dying one by one. One bush will completely die off bef...
view the full question and answer

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center