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My heart broke when I read amnorcal's comment - $10k to eliminate manzanitas because of fear of fire, OUCH! - the myth of chaparral plants like manzanitas being extra "oily" and flammable has proven untrue. Clear or water 100ft zone around house, remove dead or dying plant material, or thin... many cheaper and more effective ways currently recommended to be fire safe in a country setting. Do your research before spending so much on a drastic measure. Sometimes clearcutting native plant material creates an opening for non-native, far more flammable weeds to take hold. I hope that was not the case for amnorcal. Read "Fire and Manzanita Myths" at or some fire tests and data from the legendary Las Pilitas website at

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Elderberry makes one of the best jams ever. I think people eat the flowers too, although then you don't have berries in fall.

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@obox First, we did not "clear cut" native plants. This is not "chaparral" or shrublands we are talking about. Our property is in ponderosa pine forest. It is full of huge ponderosa pine, cedar and oak. The manzanita were a dangerous "ladder" under the trees. The manzanita were removed under a California Department of Forestry program. They reimbursed us $10,000 to have them removed because they were dangerous. Not only is thick manzanita in a forest a fire danger, it is also unhealthy for pines, choking out new seedlings.


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