League hosts plant workshop | TahoeDailyTribune.com

League hosts plant workshop

Get out your sun hats, garden gloves and sunscreen and get down to Linear Park.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is hosting a hands-on workshop Saturday to increase support for native vegetation along the bike path where Wildwood Avenue meets U.S. Highway 50.

Park construction, funded by a $750,000 grant from the California Tahoe Conservancy, began in 1999 and was completed last year. However, a weed infestation choked out much of the young landscaping, making the area look dead despite the city of South Lake Tahoe’s efforts.

“I recognize that right now it looks dry and sparse. There’s a lot of pressure to put sod in from the public,” said Jaye Von Klug, the city’s redevelopment manager. “Give us a couple of years. We all have the same goal – to have an attractive frontage there.”

Von Klug said the League stepped up efforts to help the immature area because native vegetation benefits the environment and looks much more natural behind the fenced area than sod.

League spokeswoman Heidi Hill Drum said native vegetation should always be the first consideration for landscaping around town, especially with redevelopment projects. Native species are easier to grow and don’t require harsh chemical fertilizers like highly ornate plants.

“The type of perfectly manicured lawns people see in Southern California aren’t the yards they can have in South Lake Tahoe because it’s harmful to the lake,” Hill Drum said. “It doesn’t mean Tahoe lawns are any less beautiful.”

The League will offer a walking tour of close to a dozen ground cover and tree species in Linear Park. Free native wildflower seed packets will be given to those who get down to plant level and help pull weeds.

Julie Etra, owner of Western Botanical Services and South Lake Tahoe’s consultant on landscaping for redevelopment projects, will lead the tour at noon. Etra will point out the diverse wet and dry land plant species, ranging from grasses to wild roses, lupines and blue flax.

She will also answer residents’ landscaping questions.

“The more people find out about things they can do in their own backyard, the more we’ll be able to save the lake,” Hill Drum said. “This is an opportunity where everybody in the community can come up and learn tips that can make a difference.”

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