Weeding in an El Nino Year

Thanks to the El Nino rains this winter, the native plants are doing well in the Native Garden. So are the invasive annuals. Open areas in garden beds are overrun with invasive annuals like slender oat (Avena barbata), ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus), and red brome (Bromus madritensis). This is because those open areas were mulched five years ago and have not been mulched since; the original mulch has decomposed to a fine compost, creating a fertile medium for annuals to thrive in. So the main focus in the garden now is to weed the invasive annual before they drop seed.

On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Clinton Nguyen of Independence High School Red Cross Club helped us remove invasive annuals from several beds. We started by weeding around the Native Garden sign off Park Road. This bed features a baby Califonia buckeye tree which has flowered for the first time.


We then worked on the beds around the western sycamore trees by the lake. Here are pictures of the bed before and after the weeding:

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We finished the session by weeding around the large stand of California buckwheat off the accessible path. In a month or so, the buckwheat will be blooming its head off, and pollinators in the area will take notice.


California buckwheat has ample room to expand after thorough weeding around it

The following day, Sunday, May 15, 2016, we were joined by Silicon Valley Volunteers. The group of seven volunteers worked on removing the invasive annuals from the bed adjoining the parking lot. Oat and brome grasses were removed without harming existing native plants. When we finished, the parking lot looked neat and well-maintained.

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About Arvind Kumar

Native plant gardener in San Jose, CA. I have been growing native plants since 2000 in a tract home lot front and back.
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