Landscape Landscape
Plant Material - Maintenance


  • CA native plants are typically pruned in late summer after they have bloomed. Read “Care & Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens" by O’Brien, Landis & Mackey for details on each plant species.
  • ‘UC Verde’ Buffalo Grass, planted by plugs, is frequently cut 3-6 weeks after planting to stimulate plant growth.
  • Trees should already have a good framework for proper canopy growth when you purchase them at the nursery. Also, examine the rootball to avoid buying trees with girdled roots. 

Plant Disease

  • It is important to identify your plants' problem. Is it a result of a nutrient deficiency or a plant disease? Consult a Master Gardener or landscape professional if you need help.
  • Before pruning, remember to sterilize your pruning shears to prevent spreading plant diseases.   
  • Many fungal diseases are the result of overwatering or overhead irrigation staying on the leaves overnight. 
  • Reduce your watering and alter the irrigation schedule to run between 5-10 am.  

Proper spacing

  • Overcrowding often creates competition among plants for nutrients in the soil. Sometimes removing a few plants gives others the room to grow.


For tips on combating garden pests using less-toxic methods, consult our topic-specific fact sheets: pdf
Find out more about Managing Pests.
Last updated: Wednesday, 09/16/2015

All About Plants

Climate-appropriate, drought-tolerant, California-friendly, water-wise: different ways to say the same thing -- choosing the right plant material is an important part of any sustainable landscape.
Learn More.

A Website for Sore Eyes

Take a gander at some gorgeous gardens, point and click on the plants you like and - voila! - you tap into a wealth of information on that particular plant species.  Click again and you automatically compile a printable list of plants that can easily be handed-off to a landscaper or an attendant at your favorite nursery. 

This tool will go a long way in helping you overcome some of the most significant hurdles in getting your sustainable landscape project started.


City of Santa Monica © 2015

Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626