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View Full Version : Planting Fremontodendron in February


Anonymous
01-26-2003, 04:55 AM
Hello, I am considering using a Fremontodendron as a street tree in San Francisco. I realize that I missed the fall planting season, and I wondered if I should try to plant it in late January or early February, or have I missed my planting window completely? Any advice is deeply appreciated. Galen</p>

Anonymous
01-27-2003, 05:37 PM
Hi Galen: I have found it to be an absolute myth that you can only plant natives in Fall! In fact, Fall is often the worse time to plant, as the soil is at its driest, and just when you get the darn thing planted, a Santa Ana wind completely dessicates your pride and joy. If I had to pick a season that was slightly easier, it would be in the dead of winter, which is where we are currently at. Also, being in San Francisco, where it`s pretty much 59 degrees all year long with humidity, I would think that you really would not have problems, even in the dead of summer. The key to summer plantings is simply watering more - 10 to 30 gallons per plant, and mulching. We lose no more plants in August than we do in December. We do residential native landscapes in San Diego, and plant from 7 to 15 thousand natives per year it would be hard to feed my family and accomodate my customers if we could only work in Fall. And we do warranty our plantings. So don`t sweat it - just water the heck out of it when you plant it, and if you happen to have a 12-18 inch boulder that you can place on the south side of the rootball, even better. By the way, I just planted 2 fremontias this week in 85 degree weather here in San Diego. Good Luck.</p>

Anonymous
01-28-2003, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the advice. I think I am going to go for it and cross my fingers because the local San Fran department of Urban Forestry is very interested in finding suitable natives for street trees, and she thinks that this might be one.</p>

Anonymous
01-28-2003, 02:43 PM
The hairs might be a problem, but the sidewalk is wide, and I will be diligent about pruning it into a tree form. I like the Ceanothus that you suggest and I have one in my back yard, but my husband wants a 'normal looking' tree with an open canopy in front of our house, and I have convinced him that I can prune this one to look 'normal'. He is also concerned about damage to the sidewalk, and the San Francisco city department of Urban Forestry person says that these don`t cause big sidewalk repair bills. I hope that this is not a big mistake. Time will tell.</p>

Anonymous
01-29-2003, 05:14 AM
About that Fremontodendron - This plant tends to branch out rather low to the ground, and grow wider than tall. A bit of pruning is fine in an urban setting, but do you really want to condemn yourself to a life of constant pruning to confine an exuberant, wide and wild plant to some kind of 'normal' size limits? As for when to plant, it partly depends on your watering situation. In the hills of San Mateo County similar to SF, but a bit hotter and drier, I planted Fremontodendrons out in LATE fall, watered them in once, maybe another time or two if there were gaps in the rainfall, and that was IT. No supplemental watering after that. The instructions about watering once a week for the first year apply more to hot, arid regions, than to the SF Bay Area - especially for plants that really do need to be kept dry during the summer. Of course, you can give Fremontodendrons a bit of supplemental water if the drainage is good avoid overhead water, but it helps to be aware of the plant`s growing conditions in the wild, and the fact that it really doesn`t need much water. Even with good drainage, too much water can make it grow even faster than its normal rapid growth, leading to a plant that might be top-heavy, brittle, or short-lived. Hope this is helpful, Lori Hubbart </p>

Anonymous
01-30-2003, 12:42 PM
Lori`s right. They usually require no supplemental water after establishment. Interestingly, if you look at where fremontias down here mexicanum are actually native, they grow in gravelly washes that are inundated in winter but with perfect drainage, and bone-dry in summer. These can be hard to duplicate in a landscape. I planted one in adobe in Escondido, and it has done marvelously now for 8 years on the ONE watering we gave when we transplanted it there. Good luck. Greg</p>

Anonymous
02-14-2003, 01:46 PM
Fremontia is not a good choice for any location close to where people will pass. The hairs on the leaves can be brushed off and are very painful if you get one in your eye, aside from the irritation to the skin. The bush will hum with bees when in bloom. It is a beautiful bush, but keep it in background locations. Try a Catalina Ironwood, Mandrone or Coast Live Oak. You wont have to train it, they like SF weather and can tolerate wind.</p>