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Garden Plot: Replace invasives with low-water plants this fall

Pokeweed is native to the Midwest and East Coast and has become invasive in California. The berries are considered poisonous, but birds like them and spread them around. (Diane Lynch / For The Ark)

As soon as the rains start — and it won’t be soon enough for my very dry garden — it’s time to remove unwanted plants and put in new plants that use less water or maybe just more mulch. Because my water bill has doubled and I’m now in the third tier of usage, I’m getting really serious about water conservation.

The first thing to consider in the garden is to remove any invasives with the goal of leaving more moisture in the soil for the plants we actually want to grow. Our top invasives include ivy, often listed as the best way to keep the rat population thriving; broom, which is pretty in bloom but quickly plants itself to cover a field; pokeweed, which produces berries that birds favor but spread all around the neighborhood; and pampas grass, which produces nice wands of windborne seeds to spread itself around.

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