The Central California Coast region is suffering an invasion of destructive non-native plants. If you own or manage property in the Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, or San Benito County areas, you can help stop the spread of invasive plants and promote thriving native plant populations. Here’s what you should know.
Invasive, Non-Native Plants Have the Advantage
A plant’s a plant, right? If an attractive invasive plant takes over a few acres, what’s the worst that can happen?
Plenty of bad things can happen when invasive plants get out of hand. If you’ve ever been to the southeastern states and witnessed kudzu draped over every tree in sight, you’ve witnessed an invasive vine killing off years of native tree growth.
Invasive plants have superpowers that make them dangerous to native plants. Some of their special tricks include:
- Resistance to pests
- Heat and cold tolerance
- Prolific seeds or other propagative advantages
- Ability to fix nitrogen in soil
Many invasive plants are able to colonize huge swaths of prairie, forest, and coastal grasslands by poisoning nearby plants. As native plants die off, the area becomes a monoculture of one type of plant.
Monocultures Kill Biodiversity
A native ecosystem thrives when all of the living organisms and resources work together. Native vegetation provides food and habitat for insects, who provide food for birds, who spread seeds and provide food for larger animals.
Native trees and plants offer:
- Nesting sites
- Decayed-wood habitats
When native sources of food and habitat are pushed out by invasive plants, native wildlife populations grow weaker. Birds can’t find berries. Fish are blocked from spawning by invasive plants that take over rivers and streams.
You Play an Important Role
The choices you make on your property can make a difference to your local wildlife and waterways. Have a tree service visit your property to take an inventory of plants in your landscape. You and your tree service can work together to remove invasive plants and install appropriate replacements.
When you choose landscape and bedding plants at the nursery, look for plants that are drought-tolerant and native to your region. Research plants you find at retail nurseries to ensure you don’t accidentally plant a disaster.
For example, many people plant showy plumed grasses as ornamental accents at the ends of their driveways or around their patios. These two types of ornamental grasses are highly invasive species in California and can damage the growth of your other plants:
Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is a grass native to South America. Pampas grass grows 6 to 13 feet tall with showy white or pale lavender flower plumes.
This plant is highly self-sowing when male plants are present. You must remove the entire crown and top roots, or this plant will continue to re-sprout. Roots of one plant may spread up to 1,100 square feet.
Jubata Grass (Cortaderia jubata) is sometimes called pampas grass or is considered a type of pampas grass. It is also native to South America. Plants can reach heights over 20 feet, with flower plumes of deep purple transitioning to pink or beige when fully mature.
Jubata grass invades coastal waterways and redwood forests. It suppresses conifer seedlings. One flower plume can produce 100,000 self-sowing seeds with no pollination necessary. Like pampas grass, this ornamental grass must be completely dug up to remove roots and shoots.
Your tree service is an invaluable ally in removing invasive ornamentals, including pampas and jubata grasses. Chainsaws, diggers, and other heavy equipment may need to be employed to eradicate non-native trees and shrubs.
Invasives, including pampas and jubata grasses, can also be repelled with chemical treatments if seedlings continue to sprout after the original plants are removed. Your tree service has a variety of strategies to manage all types of invasive plants, and they’ll help you find better replacements to accent your landscape.
Contact Community Tree Service, Inc., today and schedule an inspection of your landscaping. If you’re having trouble keeping up with invasive growth on your property, we have the tools and expertise to provide serious land-clearing in the Monterey, Santa Cruz, and surrounding area.