“HOA doesn’t understand native vegetation,” said the frustrated Redditor in their post about the ongoing issue.
Native plants are a major boon to homeowners, especially in the Southwest, where the Redditor said they live. Because they’ve lived for hundreds and thousands of generations in a dry, desert environment, they don’t need much water to thrive — making them the perfect plants to grow in that same desert now.
“About seven years ago, I ripped out 1,000 [square feet] of lawn and replaced it with drought tolerant vegetation, a lot of which is Mojave Desert natives,” the original poster explained. “I have since seen my water use tank, which is important to me, seeing as water overconsumption is threatening the entirety of my region dependent on one river.”
The river in question is likely the Colorado River, which is one of the major sources of water for communities in the drought-stricken Mojave. The river is reportedly drying up, leading municipalities to take drastic measures like restricting new home construction in the area.
In those conditions, a resident being responsible with water by growing desert plants instead of grass sounds like a great way to save money and protect the community. But according to this Redditor, their HOA was making it difficult.
“I planted one specific species, Lycium torreyana, which is dormant during the summer,” they said. “The HOA approved of my landscape plan and this species being planted specifically … The HOA has recently sent me a series of letters threatening fines to remove dead shrubs and weeds.”
Obviously, the plants aren’t dead, just dormant. But HOA boards generally aren’t botany experts, and their decisions may be based on opinions rather than facts. “Of course they are ignorant of botany,” the OP added.
Thankfully, the homeowner did have the prior HOA approval on their side.
“Send them back the approved landscaping plan indicating you have removed all unapproved plants,” one commenter suggested. “If they indicate removal of the plants they approved [in the] plan, ask them where your landscaper can send the bill for removal of healthy plants? … Keep making it their problem … If they try to ban native, low water use plants forever, send it to your city and state who likely prohibit that. Local news is also pretty good for that stuff.”
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