I read Donna Wildearth's (Dec. 15) article "Gardening for Caterpillars?," a noteworthy topic.
Unfortunately, I was surprised to read some of the suggested top native trees/shrubs for Eureka, information which she garnered from National Wildlife Federation's Native Plant Finder (uses zip codes in search box). Some of the plants are not specific to our area. Aspen and most oaks, for example, are not appropriate for our Humboldt Bay area. I went to the website noted in the article and experimented with a few other California cities: It gave the same top natives for Bakersfield, Napa, Monterey and Palm Springs!
Databases can be oversimplified, and that appears to be the case here. In cases like this, it is good to dive deeper into the results and find exactly which ones would do well in our climate.
In general, Donna's article does make good points about the importance of planting natives that provide caterpillars and their predators (birds) with food. Creating a garden that's ecosystem-friendly; that's the essential bottom line.
Jane Fusek, McKinleyville