Some of the worst invasive plants in California, brooms and yellow starthistle, have caused substantial changes to California’s wildlands. The organism that causes sudden oak death was inadvertently introduced to California forests on nursery stock and is estimated to have killed more than 1 million oak and tanoak trees during the last decade. Insect-carried diseases such as West Nile virus and others threaten public health, horses, and native birds.
What can you do about invasive pests? Here are some tips to help stop or slow the spread and introduction of invasive pests:
- Don’t plant or release invasive plants into the environment. The California Invasive Plant Council promotes horticultural alternatives to invasive plants in a series of regional brochures entitled Don’t Plant a Pest.
- Avoid dumping aquatic plants or aquarium water into local waters, since many aquarium plants are highly invasive.
- Use plants native to your area for landscaping. Native plants have benefits such as requiring less water, providing habitat for native butterflies and pollinators, and usually have fewer pest problems, too!
- Don’t bring foreign plant or animal material into California. Be careful what you bring back when you travel, and don’t spread species from local quarantine areas to non-infested areas.
- Be careful when moving firewood. Buy it where you burn it. Many pest insects and pathogens move in firewood.
Report invasive species in your area – contact your local UC Cooperative Extension office or Agricultural Commissioner to report invasives and to get information on controlling invasive species on your property.