Lowe’s stops using neonics!


photo credit: Ecowatch website


According to Lowe’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report, “Lowe’s is committed to regularly reviewing the products and information we offer customers and we’re taking the following actions to support pollinator health:

  • Including greater organic and non-neonic product selections
  • Phasing out the sale of products that contain neonic pesticides within 48 months as suitable alternatives become commercially available
  • Working with growers to eliminate the use of neonic pesticides on bee-attractive plants we sell
  • Encouraging growers to use biological control programs
  • Educating employees and customers through in-store resources such as brochures, fact sheets and product labels”

Invasive Mexican Feather Grass


Mexican Feather Grass

Photo courtesy Joan Bockman


My buddy, Joan Bockman, of the Buena Vista Native Plant Club in Oceanside, has been working to help nurseries stop selling Mexican Feather Grass –

Nasella (formerly Stipa) tenuissima – an invasive that is used frequently in Southern California. She sent me this picture a while ago – because it illustrates the crucial problem: seeds get windblown and rapidly take hold in areas where they were not intended.

This planting area to the far side of the sidewalk was intentionally landscaped with a border of the grass. And you can see how it rapidly colonized the near side of the walkway.

Talk this up to your friends and gardeners you know: there are so many great alternatives to this attractive, but invasive plant.

PlantRight is running a campaign right now about this issue – and they have some ways you can help on a larger scale to ease this plant out of the garden scene here.





Troubled Exotics

by Connie Beck

Some of the most reliable, popular, and therefore overused exotics that Southern Californians have depended on for years may be disappearing from our landscapes. This change creates a great opportunity to promote the planting of natives.


Bad oleander between good ones

We’ve all noticed the Oleander scorch which is killing virtually all of the Oleanders. Lemonadeberry or Toyon would be effective replacements. Victorian Box (Pittosporum undulatum) is still being sold and recommended in nurseries in spite of the fact that the same glassy-winged sharpshooter that is killing the Oleanders is causing even mature Victorian Box to yellow, defoliate, and then die. This pest is the vector for a bacterial disease (Vilella fastidiosa) which can attack other exotics as well as grapes. Continue reading

Why the Fountain Grass Must Go

Bunchgrass in southern California

photo by Roger Klemm

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is a bunchgrass from Africa that is widely planted as an ornamental plant in portions of the United States with warm winters.  It is a tough, vigorous plant that will tolerate adverse conditions of heat and drought.  It does not appear to suffer from any pests or diseases, and many people appreciate its graceful seed heads produced in profusion over the spring and summer months.

The downside is that in California, Fountain Grass has no natural enemies and readily out-competes other plants.  It is invasive, and if you plant it in your yard, you will soon have seedlings of Fountain Grass popping up wherever there is bare soil.  It will even grow vigorously in the gaps between sections of concrete and bedrock of natural slopes.  Its seeds are carried long distances in the wind, so if your neighbor has it in their yard, it will eventually end up in yours, and the nearby natural areas.  If you are in a fire hazard area, it is especially dangerous, as it dries out early in the summer and becomes extremely flammable. Continue reading