Friday, July 06, 2007

Invasive Plants aka "weeds" may be regulated in Encinitas

The city of Encinitas has decided to form a citizen's panel in addition to the Blue Ribbon Environmental Committee, to devise a plan and method to control invasive plant species.

Sounds dumb at first, right? It would be impossible to regulate non-native plant species in sprawling Encinitas. Our streets are lined with Australian eucalyptus (which I would like to see eventually replaced with California oaks) and other non-native trees. Heck, the beloved poinsettia is non-native.

But non-native and invasive plants are two different things. Invasive plants are basically weeds that can get out of control and take over, slurping up all the water, becoming fire hazards and dominating the increasingly rare native California plant species.

The city recommends banning the razor sharp leaves and itchy pollen of pampus grass from city properties.

The San Diego Union Tribune article by Angela Lua makes this story seems controversial, but is it really? link

From the article:

The 2002 Blue Ribbon Committee suggested, among other things, banning non-native plants on city property and requiring new residential and commercial developments to avoid using them. It also suggested eradicating pampas grass and arundo from city properties.

Besides pampas grass and arundo, the Blue Ribbon committee also listed acacia, giant reed, ice plant, wild fennel, perennial pepperweed, myoporum, castor bean, Brazilian and Peruvian pepper tree, and tamarisk/salt cedar as commonly found invasive plants in Encinitas.

Councilman Dan Dalager cast the only dissenting vote in this latest anti-invasive plant effort. He said the city doesn't need to set up a bureaucracy to regulate what people grow in their yards because city staffers already do a good job of keeping invasive plants out of developments that are near wildlife habitats.

“Talk about a regulatory nightmare,” Dalager said. “You have a whole code enforcement section walking up to little old ladies' doors to tell them rip this out and rip that out. It seems like a nice path to go down, but it's an infringement (on privacy). I have no problem at all with a program of education.”

Houlihan became concerned when she saw that a Cardiff revitalization plan contained invasive plants in its landscaping recommendations. That plan is being revised after numerous Cardiff residents told the council they were unhappy with many of the plan's recommendations.

I have to agree with Dalager in that trying to regulate what people plant in the gardens may be impossible and contains some Big Brother issues (you old hippy residents and your 2 or 3 wilting pot plants had better watch out). However, I think it's a good idea for the city to try and keep invasive plants out of places like Cottonwood Creek.

Big clumps of arundo have been growing down at Swami's and Beacon's beaches for over 30 years. They seem harmless to me at these locations. Besides creating shelter for bums and drug addicts that might even be stabilizing the bluffs. But, we don't want arundo in the creeks or wetlands where they could grow out of control.

Notice the large patch of vegetation at the base of the bluff at Beacon's beach. The surf spot in front of this patch is named "Bamboo's" after it, but I don't think that is actually bamboo growing there. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that is arundo or giant reed grass.

The NCTD controlled zone in Leucadia is a mecca for dirt and weeds (mostly dirt). Are there invasive plants growing here and would a city ordinance even apply to this depressing area?

Leucadia Blvd and the coast highway are blighted by non-native invasive orange sandbags.

More info on invasive plant species at The United States National Arboretum website.


California Invasive Plant Council


  1. ...I wonder who would be willing to put in the time? Anyone?

    Surely donated equipment, soil amendments, and plant life could be arranged if we got a few willing people to do the work.

    If nowhere else, let's start with that nasty stretch of train track!

  2. Sorry kids. We love the Leucadia train tracks just the way it is, choked with dirt and weeds and orange sandbags. You can like it or lump it.


    your NCTD masters


  4. Dalager is the village idiot.

  5. Dalagher finally said something that made sense. Let's not start the Encinitas weed (non-native plant) Police. Actually if they are as effective as the Sheriff's Traffic Police then we all nothing to worry about. Nothing will ever get done. Speeding doesn't stop so weeds won't go away either.

  6. We already have the bug police. Should we get rid of the bug police?

    anon 351 you are an ignorant fool. Without the bug police our ag industry would not be what it is today.

    The city already has a contract weed police and Dalager voted for it. Three years ago.

  7. Dalager voted for a parking police officer that is assigned to the downtown area not long ago.

    More public servants keeping the cars politically correct. Oh but that is different? What is the difference?

    The only difference is that anon 351 and Dalager think parking control is a good idea and that invasive plant control is not, so anon 351 should make the debate about whether invasive plant control is a good idea not about the issue of creating bureaucracy because no bureaucracy is going to be created.

  8. Do residents use transit in transit-oriented developments? There are strong indications that most don't, according to a Times review by Sharon Bernstein and Francisco Vara-Orta. Consider:

    The Times decided to examine driving habits at four apartment and condominium complexes that have already been built at or near transit stations in South Pasadena, North Hollywood, Pasadena and Hollywood. Reporters spent two months interviewing residents, counting cars going out of and into the buildings and counting pedestrians walking from the projects to the nearby train stations. The reporting showed that only a small fraction of residents shunned their cars during morning rush hour. Most people said that even though they lived close to transit stations, the trains weren't convenient enough, taking too long to arrive at destinations and lacking stops near their workplaces. Many complained that they didn't feel comfortable riding the MTA's crowded, often slow-moving buses from transit terminals to their jobs. Moreover, the attraction of shops and cafes that are often built into developments at transit stations can actually draw more cars to neighborhoods, putting an additional traffic burden on areas that had been promised relief.

  9. I have a different idea.

    Let's protect the non-native plants and put them under the watch of the city staff. Can you think of a faster way to kill them!

  10. All plants come in on the wind or the bird poo.

    This "native" nonesense reflects the pathetic desire of a few control freaks to stop a natural occurance and limit future bio-diversity to a time frame that is from a specific window of the past.

    Y'all are takin' on ma' nature, and she gonna kick yer booty!

  11. How does one politely tell thier neighbors to get a fucking clue?

    Are you folks such neanderthals that you don't see the value of planting native species, and the control non-indiginous non natives?

    Reading these previous blog posts it is no wonder why Encinitas elects people like Dalager, Stocks, and Bond.

  12. Dalager voted for the short term rental police.
    Dalager voted for the R.V. parking police.

    He talks all libertatrian when he doesn't like something and doesn't have the guts to come out and say why. When he likes a certain type of "government intrusion" he ignores all libertarian ideals for that moment.

  13. I think we should take this concept slow. Start with city property and see how cost effective and realistic it is. The last thing this town needs is a Plant Police ticketing old ladies for having weeds in their yard.

  14. We should select a block captain for every block that can report secretly to Dalager. Something like the Nazi's did prior to WWII. It was effective for them they eradicated all the Jews and we are just talking about weeds(non-native plants). That would give the Dalager Police something to do and crow about.

    They could also keep track of illegal parkers and visitors that Dalager doesn't like.

  15. JP,

    Should we get rid of the "public nudity police"?

    You can't go around nude and do so doesn't actually cause damage public property or other's personal property.

    Growing tamrisk can cause a public nuisance that damages public and private property. Get real. No one planting this shit is bothering to try to keep their seeds on their own property. If they are, then we should give them an exception and allow them to carry on.

    It is an awful lot like playing loud music on your own property. Doing that is an activity that spills out on to other's property. We have a sheriff's department that will respond to such a nuisance. Do you have a problem with that?

    If you stand up at the council meeting and say we should get rid of noise ordinances too then maybe you are a true believer. Otherwise you are full of crap and a Dalager shill trying to run cover for that duffus.

  16. You caught me, I'm a Dalager shill. We went squirrel hunting this morning.

  17. I think some clarification is needed:

    The concern is with invasive non-native plants. These are plants that are both non-native AND invasive. These plants are not native to California (i.e. they came from South Africa, the Mediterranean, etc.) and are invasive, meaning they grow rapidly and overtake areas. It is very MISLEADING to just talk about ‘non-native plants’ - because this includes everything from petunias to basil to jacaranda trees. Most non-native plants are not a problem- they stay in their planted areas. But the invasive non-native ones spread by roots, underground stems, and seeds and aggressively take over. Why is this bad? Invasive non-native plants can, they cause fire hazards and flood hazards, displace native plants (and thus native wildlife), they can make areas inaccessible for recreation, and they cost the city, state and private property owners when they cause problems, such as becoming fire hazards.

    People have twisted the intent of the proposed committee to investigate invasive non-native plant use in the City. I was at the City Council meeting when this was discussed. My understanding is that the City is considering not allowing the use of the most problematic invasive non-native plants on City properties and on new developments. We are talking about is a list of about 10 plants that they do not want new devlopments to plant. These are plants you don't want in your yard anyway. They are NOT going to create a 'plant police' that will tell people with established gardens that you they can’t have such and such a plant in their yard. Come on. Little old ladies being told to rip out their plants. That’s ridiculous. It is frustrating to see this issue get sensationalized. For the City to have a more comprehensive policy on invasive non-native plants on their properties and on new developments would be a great thing. Invasive plants are real problem and they seriously degrade our natural areas and cause fire and flood hazards. The cost of dealing with invasive non-native plant infestations once they have established is huge. The idea is to prevent these plants from ever getting established.

    Go to and for more info. lists the most problematic species in different parts of California (only 9 species for our area) and suggested alternatives.

  18. Unfortunately, there are plant police in Encinitas. A certain organization (which will remain nameless) hired workers to go out and remove plants that were on their invasive species list. The workers removed the plants from private properties without owners' permission.

  19. I think the 'nameless' organization that 'removed plants without permission' should be named so they can defend themselves.

  20. Logan Jenkins wrote about this issue today (July 9) in the UT.


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