what to plant

Asked November 1, 2020, 9:44 PM EST

My house is just down the hill from HJ Andrews Experimental Forest and devastated by wildfire, I need to know what will stabilize the hillside so that I can rebuild. Please share the best plant and of course the best that grow with doug fir.

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Unfortunately, this situation can't be solved with just planting one plant. The actions you take to stabilize your soil will depend on the specifics of your property and how it burned. The fist thing I want to tell you is that there is a high likelihood that the leaf matter that has fallen off the burned trees will help to disperse the rains and decrease the chances of soil movement. Additionally, many of the plants that were there before were likely only top killed and have probably started rerouting already. The regrowth of those plants together with roots still in the soil should also help with keeping the soil somewhat stable. There may be some concerns still this winter if your property is very steep. In this case adding mulch and some erosion control structures might help. We have some after the fire resources for you to be able to determine what might work best for your property. You can find the recordings of our webinar series here https://extension.oregonstate.edu/fire-program/fire-program-online-webinar-guide.

Your property might also qualify for financial assistance for soil stabilization. I recommend contacting Tom Snyder with the Natural Resource Conservation Service here in Eastern Lane County. His number is 541-650-3051. He can help you determine if your property is eligible.

I know you asked for a plant, but honestly the understory of your forest will bounce back pretty quickly. Some people will recommend seeding forbs and grasses, but those aren't always a good idea in forest lands because many of the plants that were there will come back anyway and then you'll have to control those grasses once you replant your trees. I recommend getting seedlings as quickly as possible and trying to plant your trees as soon as you can.

I've been keeping a list of landowners affected by the fire so I can send out educational, technical, and financial resources as they become available. If you'd like to be added to that email list, please send me a note to lauren.grand@oregonstate.edu.