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Restoration after Wildfire

Why native plants for restoration?

Native plants have several benefits:

  • Native plants provide food and shelter for wildlife and pollinators, and they are usually easy to grow.
  • Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soils, and can tolerate the cool, wet winters and warm dry summers we have in the Willamette Valley.
  • They do not require added fertilizers, and once established after a year or two of summer watering (if possible), they rarely need supplemental water.
  • Native plants are beautiful and are naturally resistant to many diseases and pest problems.

Here is a short list of native trees, shrubs and ground-cover/flowering plants for areas burned.  The lists are separated into plants for upland areas (away from water) and stream side areas (near a water source).


Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolia)
Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)Bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata)
Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)
Cascara  (Rhanmus purshiana)Red Alder (Alnus rubra)
Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta var californica)Western/Oregon Crabapple (Malus fusca)


Cascade Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa)Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)Douglas Spirea (Spiraea douglasii)
Western Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)
Salal (Gaultheria shallon)Willow: Sitka or Pacific (Salix sitchensis/lasiandra)
Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpus albus)Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)
Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)Swamp/Cluster Rose (Rosa pisocarpa)
Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus/nutkana)

Groundcover/Flowering Plants

Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)Streambank lupine (Lupinus rivularis)
Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi)Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)
Oregon Iris (Iris tenax)Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)
Common Self heal (Prunella vulgaris var lanceolata)Big Leaf Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Broad petal strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium idahoense)
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)Slough sedge (Carex obnupta)
Douglas Aster (Symphyotrichum subspicatum)Dagger-leaved rush (Juncus ensifolius)


Blue Wildrye (Elymus glaucus) 10lbs/acre for upland areas. Apply between Late September and late October or in spring, February-Late March

Planting Notes

  • Control competing vegetation around native plants for ~ 5 years to help reduce competition for sunlight, water and other nutrients.  Keep an area ~ 2ft in diameter clear of vegetation around the plants by mowing, hand pulling or careful herbicide application.
  • Apply water during hot summer months if possible.
  • General planting density is 300-400 trees/acre in upland areas, which is about 11 to 12 ft spacing.  If using shrubs and flowering plants, planting density is higher.  Shrubs can be planted at ~6 ft spacing and flowering plants can be as close as 1 ft.
  • Along streams, plant at a density of 2-3 ft spacing to help control erosion and crowd out undesirable species.
  • Control all invasive and noxious vegetation in planting area, if possible.  Many invasive plants that were present before the fire will most likely resprout after the fire.  A few high priority invasive species in the fire area include: Italian Thistle, false brome, meadow, spotted and diffuse knapweeds, yellow archangel, garlic mustard and knotweeds.  https://northsantiam.org/post-fire-recovery-invasives/
  • Other species that should be controlled to ensure success of plantings or naturally regenerating native plants are: Armenian blackberry, Scotch broom, English Ivy, tansy ragwort, bull thistle, Canada thistle.
  • Information for Marion SWCD’s Annual Native Plant Sale and Scholarship Fundraiser will be posted on our website later this winter.

Contact Us

Our staff can help you with all your restoration projects.

Chelsea Blank
Natural Areas Planner
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