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Beware of the Arundo Weed

The Arundo weed is growing throughout Santa Clarita. If you have it on your property, you should get rid of it because can be extremely harmful to our environment...

Arundo was introduced for a reason and illustrates the "Law of Unintended Consequences". It was imported from Europe and used in LA in the 1820's to control stream bank erosion and was also used to thatch roofs. Today it is used as the "reed" in reed instruments such as bassoons and bagpipes.  Yes, it stabilizes the stream banks.  But now we know that to remain ecologically diverse, rivers need annual flooding to encourage channel migration, maintain a natural cycle of plant succession and provide a mosaic of diverse natural communities.  This is similar to the way fire maintains a mosaic of diversity in the chapparral. Arundo is a fierce competitor and crowds out native plants.  It spreads by underground rizomes (somewhat like a mint plant).  It spreads everywhere. Arundo does not provide food or habitat for native animals.  It's like someone going to the company potluck and not bringing anything to share. Arundo is highly flamable. Arundo upstream means fewer fish downstream.  Arundo does not shade the stream like cottonwoods and other native trees.  This results in higher water temperature which leads to lower water oxygen concentration and fewer fish downstream. It's difficult to eradicate.  You have to kill the root mass.  Think of those old monster movies: the monster can only be killed by driving a stake into it's heart.