President’s Notes April 2018

Here are some of the activities in which the SLO Chapter is involved that are often missed.  Is there something here that excites you?  If so, follow your passions – get involved!

Activities in April/May 2018: (more…)

Invasive Species Ailanthus altissima


Ailanthus altissima

Britton and Brown’s 1913 Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada Public Domain: Wikipedia

Ailanthus altissima is in the Quassia family. It is native to China. It grows in disturbed areas including riparian areas and may tolerate extremely harsh conditions. It forms dense thickets that outcompete native vegetation and reduce wildlife habitat. The female trees produce fruit at several years of age. One tree can produce 325,000 seeds or MORE annually! However, it does not produce a consistent seed bank. Tree-of-heaven also reproduces vegetatively from creeping roots. New shoots can sprout up to 50 ft. away from the parent tree. It is present in many places in San Luis Obispo County, especially riparian areas. It is difficult to control. Tarping seedlings may work. Small trees can be weed wrenched. The whole plant has to go: stump and roots. Ideally a chemical application on a cut stump should consist of 20% Garlon 4 Ultra with 80% crop oil.

Conservation Update

Our chapter wrote to the California Coastal Commission to support an appeal against the illegal approval by SLO County of a subdivision of a large lot situated is an area mapped as ESHA (Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area) immediately adjacent to the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s Morro Dunes Preserve in Los Osos. The Coastal Plan specifically prohibits subdivision in ESHA. The site supports Morro manzanita, and is occupied by Coastal Dune Scrub, a rare plant association.
David Chipping

Hoover Award Honoree Marti Rutherford

Hoover Award Honoree Marti Rutherford

The Hoover Committee selected Marti Rutherford as the 2017 Honoree for the significant contributions she has made to our chapter. She has volunteered in many ways to promote the education and conservation of native flora in our county. Marti is an observant person with a true curiosity about plants and plant communities. Her interest in better knowing native plants inspires her passion for collecting seed and experimenting with propagation. The plants she grows bring her enjoyment, which she happily shares with our chapter and the larger community. (more…)

President’s Notes March 2018

President’s Notes March 2018

While volunteering a few weeks ago in the CNPS co-sponsored San Luis Creek restoration project with the City of San Luis Obispo, several of us were removing weeds and planting natives along both sides of the creek in front of the Old Mission Church. This project is now entering its third year with nearly 200 native plants placed in this scenic landscape.

While working on the creek bank a few weeks ago, I noticed a number of shoots of giant horsetail, Equisetum telmateia, emerging on the (more…)

Gardening Corner

With the lack of rain, everybody is wondering what to do in regards to irrigation. As we remember from Richard W. Halsey, our 2018 banquet speaker, California native plants generally receive rain during the months of November through April. However at this juncture, mid-February 2018, we currently have a deficit of 4 to 6 inches in rainfall. Due to this unusual lack of precipitation I’m recommending, if you can afford it, to water your oaks and other California native plantings.

A Rain Bird sprinkler puts out 120 gallons in 30 minutes, this would be equivalent to about a quarter inch of rain. At this point, you would need to water for 8 hours with a Rain Bird to catch up to normal rainfall for mid-February. Of course that would be very expensive and I’m not recommending you do that. However, any extra water that you can apply to your landscape including gray water would be very beneficial.

Until next month, Happy Gardening. John Nowak, Plant Sale co-Chairperson.

Viola pedunculata (Johnny-jump-up)

Viola pedunculata (Johnny-jump-up)

Wild (California, yellow, or grass) violet, pansy or Johnny –jump-up

This botanical illustration was created by Mardi Niles using a Micron 005 #1 Archival Ink pen and Prismacolor Verithin colored pencils on Bristol Regular paper. It will be the first of several beautiful pieces of native plant art by Mardi you will be seeing on our covers into the near future. 

Viola pedunculata is widespread throughout the coastal portion of our chapter area. It extends inland as far as there is enough moisture. Dr. Hoover reports that it is apparently absent from the desert portions of our county such as the Carrizo Plains. It is always a visible treat (more…)

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)

What native plant has more name recognition than Heteromeles arbutifolia, or some times, commonly known as Christmas Berry and California Holly. It is the sole species in the genus Heteromeles. Back in the 1920’s, people in southern California were drawn to the plant because is looked like holly. Some even believe that Hollywood was named after the large concentrations of the species growing on the slopes of the subdivision. (more…)

Read the Label to Protect Our Bees

Garden Products That Might Be Harmful to Bees warns that any gardening product than contains one or more of the following compounds should be avoided if you want to protect our bees. These are Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam. (more…)