Magazine article Sunset

Making War on the Enemy Weeds

Magazine article Sunset

Making War on the Enemy Weeds

Article excerpt

Thistle-thwarting volunteers from the Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society first met their enemies-invasive exotic weeds-in 1986. What began as a casual project to eradicate a patch of milk thistle along a favored hiking trail in Point Mugu State Park has become an all-out war on invaders that threaten to crowd out native plants and some wildlife they support.

Groups in other areas where non-native weeds are troublesome could duplicate those efforts; here's how the plant society did it.

War on weeds: the call to arms

Jo Kitz and Doris Hoover of the native plant society rallied support in 1986 from state park staff, the Camarillo Center of the California Conservation Corps, and CNPS volunteers. They all set out to eradicate milk thistle and other exotic weeds in the 16,500-acre park.

It took four week-long weeding sessions, frequent weed-whacking parties, and the energy of Eagle Scouts just to remove the thistle from the park's Big Sycamore Canyon. In 1987, fire crews from the CCC helped cut, bag, and remove large weeds like castor bean and tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca).

Since 1986, great progress has been made in controlling the invasive weeds. …

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