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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call Neil Panton at (650) 854-8038.
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2015.)
Protecting the San Gregorio Watershed.