Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2008
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Caltrans Goes Green
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has completed testing an environmentally friendly method of controlling pampas grass in District 1. "This method, called Hydromechanical Obliteration, uses small amounts of cold water at a very high pressure through a special nozzle to pulverize plants right back into the soil, which also destroys the roots." The test was performed at several sites along Route 101 near Big Lagoon in Humboldt County, and the sites will be monitored over the next 12 months to fully evaluate the results.

Pampas grass is native to South America and is considered an invasive plant throughout coastal California. Each plant can produce millions of seeds, which easily sprout along roadsides, dunes, coastal bluffs, and rock outcrops. It competes aggressively with native vegetation. Currently, the only two effective methods of control are herbicide treatments or removing the plant's rootball, which requires either much manual labor or the use of power equipment.

In 1992 Caltrans set goals for the reduction of herbicide use: 50 percent reduction by 2000, and 80 percent reduction by 2012. Caltrans has already eliminated herbicide use in Mendocino County and most of Humboldt County, and reduced the usage in Del Norte and Lake Counties.

Tool or Gardening Product

Enki Watering Can
I was sent the Enki Watering Can by a publicist for review on the silly television show that I produce, Henry's Garden. I was dubious at first, thinking an electric watering can was silly. But after having used the product for about three weeks, I can see a difference in my indoor plants. I'm afraid I tend to overwater when watering with a can instead of submerging the pots, but so far I have seen no damage as a result of my heavy hand. The Enki mechanically replicates rain water that falls during a thunderstorm.

The chemical-free plant enhancer is reported to produce more flowers than watering with plain tap water. Tomato plants watered with Enki's super-oxygenated water produced fruit with about a 25 percent greater concentration of vitamin A/beta carotene than plants irrigated with control water, and tomatoes from the super-oxygenated irrigated plants had 63 percent more trans-lycopene than fruit from the control plants.

Is it worth the $79 price? I can only say that the Enki Watering Can works well for me, so far.

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