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Weeds and Springtime

April 11, 2010

WEEDS! The copious, welcome rain has invigorated trees and shrubs of the chaparral and brought forth a wealth of wildflowers. But they also have created a lush cover of weeds that smother and choke our lovely, treasured native plants and convert swathes of chaparral and coastal scrub into weed patches that turn into semi-desert in the fall and winter, ripe for invasion by other weeds or fire. We are witnessing a type conversion of native habitat into a fire-prone wasteland.

What to do?  No one expects an average homeowner to take on the task of clearing all these weeds by her or himself. But each of us can make a contribution. Assuming you take care of an average homeowner’s piece of land, at the least, you should try to keep it weed-free. This means you should pull out or otherwise destroy non-native grasses. Almost any grass that “volunteers” in your yard is not native. You will also want to get rid of non-natives like oxalis (oxalis pes-caprae, or Bermuda buttercup), no matter how pretty they are.

Better yet, you may spend a few hours on a “weed war” with the California Native Plant Society, helping free habitat from nasty weeds. Call CNPS for information on how you can help.

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