California cities pay residents to rip out lawn and plant low water landscapes with native plants as an important way to deal with drought.
(2014) Los Angeles Times and web research. Who could have guessed that a plant known as coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) would be in demand? It’s one of the Californian natives that’s not only drought tolerant, but versatile because cultivars are available for ground cover and also upright hedges/fence lines. Native to the coastal mountains and Sierra Nevada foothills, the functional plant is fast growing, can be used to stabilize slops and if irrigated they can make a fireproof ground cover. Coyote bush also provides good wildlife habitat. This California native and others that add landscape functionality are likely to see even higher demand in the future.
According to the Los Angeles Times, The Theodore Payne Foundation (a non-profit specializing in natives) plans to open an education center catering to industry professionals and public agencies. Look for more information from the Theodore Payne Foundation on natives in the future. In addition to promoting natives, some California utilities are paying residents and businesses to remove water intensive landscapes and lawns and replace them with drought tolerant species. For example, SoCal Water$mart is offering up to $2/sq. foot (through June 30, 2015) to residences or businesses to remove turf. Santa Clara Valley Water District is offering residents and commercial businesses $2/sq. foot (through 6/30/2015) to replace high water use landscapes with low water use landscapes. There’s a cap of $50,000 per site. The conversion area has a 50% plant cover requirement. (Note: Artificial turf and lawn ornaments aren’t covered.)