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Quality of Laguna's Soil

September 06, 1998

I enjoyed Robert Smaus' article on Laguna Beach gardens ("Beach Fronts," Aug. 9). However, I wanted to correct a couple of errors. One of the reasons that Laguna Beach gardens in general look a lot more lush and interesting is that the soil in most neighborhoods is excellent, not "awful."

The non-marine terraces, basically slope wash from the mountains above, especially those below the San Onofre breccia formation, have what the late Fred Lang [a well-known Laguna landscape architect, who designed the plantings at UC Irvine among others] termed "the best soil in the world."

The marine terraces, such as those at Laguna's Top of the World community, have more difficulties but are not nearly as bad as the Capistrano soils in most of south Orange County.

Second, the characteristic gray and blue-gray rock that is seen in many areas of Laguna is probably not Ortega rock, which comes from the quarry off Ortega Highway, but collected rocks and boulders from the San Onofre breccia formation, a conglomerate that makes up much of the beach cliff in the southern part of town.

ANN CHRISTOPH

Landscape architect

South Laguna

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