Native Plant Watering Philosophy
 

     Native plants watering regimens must necessarily imitate natural conditions as closely as possible.  Native plants will not flourish if they are over watered or if they are fertilized.  For best success, they should be planted in accordance with guidelines given in this web site and the watering regimens herein should be followed.

     Few plants can endure, let alone flourish, in the extreme climate of the western Mojave Desert.  Fewer yet can flourish on one or less waterings per month during the hot summer and early fall months.  And finally, even fewer can survive the single digit temperatures and humidity experienced in the High Desert every decade or so.
     One must first consider the natural environment of specific native plants to determine how they may be successfully planted in what may be a location slightly foreign to a particular plant.  The Victor Valley features at least five different eco-systems (really more) for consideration.
  1. Western Mojave Sand - Soil comprised of sand or decomposed granite with less than 15% clay.  Most common plants include creosote bush, stunted Joshua tree, teddy bear cholla cactus, artemisia sages, and Mojave yucca.
  2. Western Mojave Loam - Soil comprised of sand or decomposed granite with more than 15% clay.  Most common plants include California juniper, Joshua tree, creosote bush, teddy bear cholla cactus, purple prickly pear cactus, rubber rabbitbush, Great Basin sage, artemisia sages, and our Lord's candle yucca.
  3. Western Mojave Foothills - Soil generally comprised of sand or decomposed granite with less than 15% clay, but at 4,000 feet or more altitude.  Most common plants include scrub live oak, California juniper to 4,500 feet, Utah juniper, Joshua tree, creosote bush, teddy bear cholla cactus, purple prickly pear cactus, rubber rabbitbush, Great Basin sage, artemisia sages, and our Lord's candle yucca.
  4. Disturbed loam:  Soil comprised of sand or decomposed granite, but recently or regularly disturbed by rain runoff or grading.  Most common plants are rubber rabbitbush, Great Basin sage, artemisia sages, and non-native tumbleweeds.
  5. Mojave Riparian -  Wide ranges of soils with year-round access to water for root systems of plants.  Most common plants include black cottonwood, invasive Fremont cottonwood, red and black willows, California sycamore, invasive non-native phragmite (river cane), invasive non-native tamarisk, and invasive non-native pampas grass.  These are all plants which require a great deal of water and are not at all recommended for non-riparian plantings with the exception of lawns (only plant native plants in or next to lawns).  One riparian plant, the Mojave tarweed is extinct due to non-native invasive plants and interminable regrading of the Mojave River water courses by Corps of Engineers et al.
     A large number and selection of plants are suitable for planting in the western Mojave Desert region which are native to the eastern Mojave, Sonoran, Colorado, Great Basin, and Chihuahuan Deserts.  While these can certainly stand the weather extremes of the western Mojave, they are used to summer thunder storms which may be supplanted by mere monthly waterings.  This expands the potential choices for plants for High Desert native gardens into the hundreds.
     Monthly summer waterings are good for all plants except for established yucca, cacti, and succulents and plants otherwise designated NSW (No Summer Water).  All native plants depend on their debris or litter for moisture retention and their minimal organic needs.  Removal oft his material can retard plant growth or even kill the plant.  Cedar chips may be used in place of debris but be sure not place chips against to the trunk of the plant.
     The following table is applicable to all native planting in the High Desert:
Waterings per Month First Year Second Year Third Year Fourth Year
  Sand Loam Sand Loam Sand Loam Sand Loam
Trees 8 4 4 2 2 1 1 1
Shrubs 8 4 4 2 2 1 1 1
Perennials 8 4 4 2 3 2 2 1
Yucca 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
Cacti/Succulents 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
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