Invasive Species of the Month
Jubata grass (Cortaderia jubata)
There is an intense infestation of Jubata grass on the California coast. As almost everyone knows it mars the most
beautiful places such as Big Sur. On their web site California Invasive Plant Council (CalIPC) describes that Jubata grass is native to northern Argentina, Bolivia, Peru Chile and Ecuador. It was grown in France and Ireland from seed collected in Ecuador. It may have come to California from France and was first seen in 1966. Jubata grass has been called the “marriage weed” as honeymooners dragged the plumes behind their cars in Big Sur. Oy! What a mess!
Jubata grass flowers from late July to September. No pollination is necessary for reproduction. Flowers are female
only, which produces viable seed. Each plume may contain 100,000 seeds! Plants may have 1 to 30+ plumes. I started removing Jubata grass in the mid 1990’s with Jack Biegle and John Nowak, just north of Oso Flaco boardwalk.
I’ve been at it ever since and removed hundreds from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, San Luis Obispo, Cambria and
Vandenberg. I’m happy to report that from the many hundreds that were in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes there are only about twenty remaining.
Terrible news for the Coast Live Oak and Tanbark Oak of our County. CNPS was a major contributor to the collection of leaves on possibly suspect oak and bay trees. Locally organized by CNPS’ Lauren Brown and Cal Fire’s Kim Corella , volunteers sampled bay trees as ‘carriers’ of the disease’s spores, which up to this year did not come south of Monterey County. The leaves were sent up to the labs in the Bay Area, and for the first time there were a large number of infections found, especially along Santa Rosa Creek. Other sites were Vineyard Drive, Cypress Mt. Rd., the west side of Atascadero, Cal Poly in Stenner Creek amd Leaning Pine Arboretum and on Prefumo Canyon Rd. This was a major shock, primarily because of the breadth of the newly found infections.
There is no cure. Prevention is through good sanitation in limiting the transport of spores. To learn more about the visible symptoms on infected leaves, go to the SOD website: https://nature.berkeley.edu/garbelottowp/
Image is of the Bay tree, courtesy of Marlin Harms
Suzette and I would like to invite any and all members, new or old, to please volunteer to help at this year’s annual plant sale on Saturday, November 5th.
There are many jobs to be done and I can always match you to something that fits best for you. Some jobs are setting up chairs and tables, un-loading plants, directing traffic, assisting with plant sales, and answering plant related questions. It’s a great way to meet new people, talk to old friends, learn plant names, and get some exercise. We will have books, posters, T-shirts, … ooh did I forget to say volunteers get first pick on plants before the sale starts. e-mail John Nowak email@example.com or call 805/674-2034 with any questions. Just indicate hours that you can help. We will also be at the Chapter Meeting on the 3rd. Until then Happy Gardening,
John and Suzette
Our Chapter would like to thank the anonymous donors of $1,000 to the Malcolm McLeod Scholarship Fund. This fund supports student research and has aided many students in projects that have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the flora. If you would also like to help students in their research, please look at our web page on the fund.
There will be a selection of seeds that were left from the seed exchange available at the plant sale. Many of these are
seeds that are not available commercially. It will be your chance to experiment with growing natives from seed. Our seeds are collected from member gardens, or, in a few cases, from other areas with permission. Seeds are sometimes from cultivars. Plants in garden environments often have ample opportunity to hybridize and some do so readily. For those reasons what might grow might not be exactly what you expect.
Our seeds are not subjected to germination testing. In many cases seeds will germinate readily. Some are known to be difficult. For advice on what might work see the book Seed Propagation of Native California Plants by Dara E. Emery (often available from our book sale). Wildflowers are usually reliable though much depends upon the environment where you are trying to grow them.
Some of the seeds may have been damaged by insect activity. I have tried to not include those but some may have escaped my attention. I do appreciate some of the insect activity because it means our natives are supporting the insects that are needed by other creatures that live with us. Most birds, even the nectar consuming ones, raise their
babies on insects.
For all the reasons above our seeds are inexpensive and the numbers of seeds in the packets are usually very generous. There are no guarantees however.
Nov 3, 2016 – Thursday – 7pm
Dave Fross of Native Sons Wholesale Nursery will give a presentation entitled “Home Ground, Forty Years Among the Natives.”
Meet at the Veterans Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo.
After last week’s hot spell (last week of September) when Los Osos hit 98°F in the shade; a good feeling came over me. Back in the day when I was a kid I always remember a hot Indian summer before a normal rainy year. So keeping this in mind I’m hoping this fall will bring lots of the wet stuff and get all the plants you purchased at the sale off to a good start. So I’m going to go over some of the basics for buying the right plant for your garden.
First, it’s important to think of others that come to visit your garden. I’m not just talking about your friends but other critters, such as birds, squirrels, gophers, moles, deer, rabbits … you get the picture. If you have a deer problem, it will limit your selection. Likewise, if you want to bring bees, birds, and beneficial insects to your garden such as Monarch Butterflies you can do this by selecting your plants ahead of
Second, most important, if the rains don’t come you will need to be Mother Nature and water until the plants become established. This would mean a good soaking over the Winter, twice a month until April. After that pay attention and water at least once a month over the first Summer depending on your soil type. Los Osos, Nipomo, etc. more water and clay soils less water every three weeks during the summer, just watch closely.
If you’re lucky and you already have established plants then the idea would be to select something that can co-exist with what you already have. Remember like playing music, less is best. Avoid the temptation to create a botanical garden and focus on simple design. Also, remember that bugs always want to destroy our best intentions. I like to use water spray on leaves to control aphids, spider mites, thrips, and to knock down oak moth caterpillars. If needed, consult your local nursery for other options.
Lastly, picking the right plant for the right spot. Sounds simple, but this is the most difficult task. Like a small boat on a large sea, the wrong plant in the wrong spot will die for sure and you won’t be happy. Going back to my first topic, look at the big picture, sun, shade are very important. Soil, drainage, are number two on the list. Think about when you go out on a hike, what’s growing on the trail. Well-drained, sunny slopes have manzanita, ceanothus, buckwheat, and lupine but shady areas have more organics, oaks, ribes, ferns, coffeberry, and hummingbird sage, love it there.
So in conclusion, I’m expecting a good chance of rain, if my gut feeling and childhood memories come through. Of course, we will have lots of good people working the sale this year so if you have special plant request, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do. For now, happy gardening; Suzette and I will see you at the plant sale.
An update from our Conservation Committee on the management of Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been developing a management plan for the wildlife refuge, and CNPS conservation committee gave input. To put it very simply, they presented three alternatives (A) keep on doing what they have been doing (B) Do more (C) Do less. They opted for (A), while CNPS wanted (B).
USFWS tacked on a few items from the (B) list, including wild pig control and predator management to aid snowy plover and least tern, but seem to be cutting back on some critical things. They “would reduce …. invasive vegetation control to when staffing resources or partnerships allow. We would annually monitor for the listed La Graciosa thistle and marsh sandwort” As invasive veldt grass is the greatest threat to the entire dune system, any reduction of control will, in the end, result in loss of the dune ecosystem. All this is, alas, budget driven..