It’s hard to see what’s not there! As you drive along our coast, it’s easy to see Jubata/Pampas grass taking over hillsides and ranges. What’s harder to see is when it’s NOT there. Look along La Honda Rd. between the coast and La Honda. Also look along Stage Rd. between the General Store and Highway 1. You will not see Jubata/Pampas grass growing along the roadway (except for a few unsafe to reach).
That’s due to the efforts of the “Kick Pampass” team, a dedicated bunch of volunteers in the community interested in keeping invasive grasses from taking over San Gregorio Valley. The spread had become all too evident, particularly along Stage Rd., where over 430 plants were recently removed. On Hwy. 84 between La Honda and San Gregorio nearly 100 plants have been removed. On private property in Cuesta, La Honda and San Gregorio more than 100 plants have been removed. This was done entirely using manual methods, no herbicides.
Most would agree these are beautiful ornamental grasses. Pampasgrass from South America was sold in nurseries for decades. Without nearby male plants, female pampas can be kept under control. Jubata grass, on the other hand, spreads like crazy on it’s own. This is the grass that predominantly populates the coast from San Diego northward. It’s an invasive opportunist, crowds out native plants, and affects the ecology and wildlife that depend on native species.
There are alternatives! Check out ornamental grasses at Yerba Buena Nursery or California Invasive Plant Council web sites, or search for non-invasive ornamental grass:
What can you do? The next phase for our Kick Pampass team will be to help landowners interested in removing plants from their property. If you have plants you‘d like removed, or have interested neighbors, feel free to contact us. In addition, this is the time of year that tall seed heads develop. If you see plants we've missed, please let us know. You may want to join us! You can reach Neil at: (650) 726-2499 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to our hard-working Pampass team: Liz, Gary, Ellen, Denis, Jane, Ellen, Hilary, Sasha, George and Neil – plus the many landowners who have allowed access to their properties or taken steps to eliminate the plants themselves! We also thank Cuesta La Honda, Caltrans, State Parks and the County of San Mateo for permission to remove plants on their property or right-of-ways.
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2016.)
Protecting the San Gregorio Watershed.