Source: California Invasive Plant Council

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Responsible Landscaping

Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a native plant suitable for replacing invasive pampasgrass (Cortaderia selloana) Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a native plant suitable for replacing pampasgrass (Cortaderia selloana). Photo: Carolyn Martus

Many invasive plants were originally introduced as ornamentals. The horticultural industry, recognizing this environmental threat, joined conservation biologists at a national workshop in 2001 entitled "Linking Ecology and Horticulture to Prevent Plant Invasions." This workshop resulted in the "Saint Louis Declaration on Invasive Plant Species," describing voluntary codes of conduct for professionals and the gardening public.

In 2002, Cal-IPC began developing its ability to educate the California horticultural community about invasive plants. With horticultural partners, we developed a series of "Don't Plant a Pest" brochures offering landscaping alternatives for invasive plants still used as ornamentals in California. In 2004, Cal-IPC joined with Sustainable Conservation and other NGOs, agencies, universities and industry trade organizations to form the California Horticultural Invasive Prevention (Cal-HIP) partnership. In 2007 Cal-HIP partners establilshed the PlantRight campaign which promotes voluntary measures for avoiding invasive plants in landscaping. PlantRight works on many fronts, and conducts annual surveys of nurseries to track progress.

Guidelines for Avoiding Invasives in Landscaping

In 2016, California's official water-efficient landscaping guidelines were added to the CALGreen building code. This includes language discouraging the use of invasive plants in landscaping, and pointing to the Cal-IPC Inventory. A working group will be formed to further develop the code. In the meantime, Cal-IPC has created a reference guide for avoiding non-invasive landscaping in California, describing both legal requirements and voluntary measures, as well as the Sunset growing zones where each (horticultural) species on the Cal-IPC Inventory is invasive. Download guide...

Don't Plant a Pest! program

Cal-IPC developed "Don't Plant a Pest!" brochures to help homeowners and landscaping professionals select non-invasive plants. These brochures and associated webpages provide suggested alternatives to invasive plants. More info...