Now that the Kick Pampass sheriffs have rounded up most of the Jubata plants in town, a new invasive has arrived to challenge the authorities. Dittricia graveolens (aka Stinkwort) is rapidly moving onto roadsides and pastures all around the Peninsula. Stinkwort is a short, yellow-flowered annual blooming in late Sept.-Oct.
Few plants have been spotted in La Honda or San Gregorio, but the Pampas team has turned its attention to identifying and removing Stinkwort before it gains a toehold in our area. One local horse pasture with a sizeable infestation is being tackled by the owner and our team this month, hopefully before the plants flower. Even now, the horses get sticky foliage on them causing issues with their hair.
A native of southern Europe, Stinkwort grows to about 3 ft. tall with sticky and aromatic foliage. These invasives take advantage of disturbed soils, roadsides, overgrazed pastures, drained wetlands, washouts, service line corridors, etc. Removal is quite easy either by cutting or pulling (in soft soil) or using a rogue hoe or pick axe. If cut or pulled before flowering, the plant can be composted in place and will not return the following year. Once buds have formed, all plants should be bagged since viable seeds will still develop from the pulled plants. The life of the seeds is about 2 years.
Be on the lookout, and either remove plants yourself, or report to the appropriate authorities (in this case, San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center firstname.lastname@example.org or 650 726-2499). As always, feel free to contact us for assistance in removal of Pampas, Jubata or Stinkwort on your property or volunteer to join our team. Our enthusiastic volunteers love seeing native plants have a chance to thrive in the San Gregorio watershed.
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, August 2018.)
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 email@example.com.
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.)
Volunteers wanted to remove Pampas & Jubata Grass from our San Gregorio Valley.
Let’s control these grasses so they won’t spread as they have in Pescadero, Half Moon Bay, and along the coast. SGERC has received permission from Caltrans to control and remove invasive Pampas and Jubata grass along Hwy. 84 between Hwy. 1 and La Honda. If you’re interested in helping with this project, please contact Neil Panton, (650) 854-8038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We use manual methods, no chemicals. We plan to clear the Hwy. 84 corridor, but since a number of plants exist on private property as well, we’d like to help interested landowners remove these invasive plants from their property. For those who’d like to keep ornamental grasses on their property, there are several non-invasive alternatives, like these suggested by the Native Plants Society and Yerba Buena Nursery:
Anyone 16 years or older can participate. We’ll schedule several morning work days over the coming year beginning in April. All safety and other training will be provided. Removal of seed heads is the first step in preventing further spread. Next we cut back vegetation to control plant growth, and finally remove the plant. Smaller plants come out in a few minutes. Larger, established plants take more effort, but can be removed with pick axe and shovel. The root balls are amazingly small and shallow considering the size of these plants.
The biggest concentration of plants is around the 2.0 and 3.0 mile markers on La Honda Rd. With team effort, we should be able to remove the remaining plants along the highway in short order. After that, we just monitor for new growth.
Feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think may be interested. We can use help on work crews, communicating with neighbors, and identifying remaining plants in the watershed. With your help, we should be able to remove Pampas and Jubata grass from San Gregorio and La Honda completely in a year or two. As one of our community leaders says “It Takes a Village”! We look forward to hearing from you!
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, February 2016.)
Many consider Pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata) to be an ornamental, and it is. Although it can be quite beautiful, it’s also extremely invasive, and can take over coastal and grassland sites. There is plenty of evidence of this along the Coast Highway and Pescadero Creek and Bean Hollow Rds. When controlled or confined, it can be a lovely plant, but its seeds travel over long distances, and each plume can produce up to a hundred thousand seeds! The plant thrives on bare soils, and takes advantage of drought conditions when other plants have trouble surviving.
We’re seeing more of this perennial along Hwy 84 and Stage Rd. in La Honda and San Gregorio, and because of it prolific seed production and highly competitive nature, it may not be long before our roadsides and slopes are taken over by this grass. Once they’re established, removal of the plant can be quite a bit of work, but controlling the spread can be as simple as removing the plumes before they go to seed in late summer or early fall.
If you’d like to help control this invasive grass in our watershed, or have plants on your property controlled or removed, please contact SGERC at email@example.com or call Neil Panton at (650) 854-8038.
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2015.)
Protecting the San Gregorio Watershed.