En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 04, 2013

From: San Clemente, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Trees & shrubs, low water, no maintenance, disease & pest resistant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We need few Trees and shrubs to meet the following needs: - Low Water or best with a taproot for Ground Water - Clay Soil in Steep Slopes (25-40 degrees) - Low or No Maintenance. (hillside, no trimming) - Disease & Pest Resistant - Both, Evergreen & Deciduous Trees are needed - Short & Tall (Shrubs 2-5 ft. & Trees 10-40 ft) Not asking for much,,, am I? Thanks for being there for us lost poppies.. :-)

ANSWER:

That is a pretty big order, but we'll see what we can do.   Las Pilitas Nursery (with locations in Escondido and Santa Margarita) classifies the plant community in San Clemente as coastal sage scrub and offers a list of native plants that grow there.  Here are a few for your consideration:

Arctostaphylos densiflora (Vine hill manzanita) is evergreen. Las Pilitas has several varieties.  Here is their description of 'Harmony Manzanita'.  It grows two to three feet high and 6 feet across and tolerates clay soil.

Arctostaphylos edmundsii (Little sur manzanita) is another low-growing evergreen that requires little water.  Again, Las Pilitas has several varieties.  Here is their description of 'Big Sur Manzanita'.

Arctostaphylos glauca (Bigberry manzanita) is a larger manzanita with red bark.  It grows to 12 feet high and 12 feet wide.   Here is more information from the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Artemisia californica (Coastal sagebrush) is an evergreen (or evergray, as it is described by Las Pilitas) shrub that grows to 3 feet.  It needs little water and tolerates clay soils.

Baccharis pilularis (Coyotebrush) is evergreen and grows 4 to 8 feet high and wide.  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Ceanothus griseus (Carmel ceanothus) is evergreen and grows to 10 feet high and 5 feet wide.   Here is the description from Las Pilitas.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) is evergreen and grows to 18 feet tall.  Here's more information from Las Pilitas.

Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade sumac) is evergreen and grows to 8 to 10 feet.  Here is the description from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Symphoricarpos mollis (Creeping snowberry) is deciduous and grows to 3 feet.  Here is more information from the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Malosma laurina (Laurel sumac) is evergreen and grows to 18 feet and is drought tolerant.   Here is the description from Theodore Payne Foundation.

You will note that there is only one deciduous selection above.  That is because California is blessed with evergreen choices.  If you were asking the question about shrubs and trees for some other part of North America (e.g., Texas), you wouldn't have so many evergreen choices.

You can find more choices for shrubs, trees and perennials in Las Pilitas list and also in our  California-Southern Recommended list of commercially available native plants for landscaping in Southern California.  Use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to select the characteristics you want from the plants on that list.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bigberry manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca

Coastal sagebrush
Artemisia californica

Coyotebrush
Baccharis pilularis

Carmel ceanothus
Ceanothus griseus

Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Lemonade sumac
Rhus integrifolia

Creeping snowberry
Symphoricarpos mollis

More Trees Questions

What is causing leaf drop on oak in Morgan Hill CA?
June 23, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants: We have a large, young Valley Oak (about 20 yrs) which is dropping leaves even now in early summer. I have a feeling that the problem might be an invasive weed that is flourishi...
view the full question and answer

Live oak bark splitting in Katy TX
October 03, 2011 - We have a 7 yr old live oak that looks like its bark is splitting open in branches and top leaves look wilted. If that sounds like oak wilt, do we need to have the tree removed? We live in a subdivisi...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for Tucson AZ
May 25, 2012 - I need to plant some "fast growing" trees or shrubs on my southwest yard in order to reduce the heat in my bedroom. What do you suggest? I live in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you in advance. I'm...
view the full question and answer

Tiny holes oozing sap from Austin
August 22, 2012 - My ash tree becomes loaded with butterflies on the trunk. At closer inspection, I see they are drinking sap which is coming from small holes in the trunk. Are the butterflies creating the holes? I ...
view the full question and answer

What to do with ailing live oak trees
May 04, 2010 - We live in far north San Antonio, TX on a 2 acre lot with many trees.. about 25% oak and 75% cedar. About 15% of our live oak trees have not sprouted leaves yet this spring, or have only sprouted leav...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center