Weed and Nuisance Plant Ordinances
AKA: Noxious weed ordinances, natural landscaping, native plants, natural vegetation, tall grass ordinances
Many communities have weed ordinances or regulations that limit the size or type of vegetation which grows or is cultivated within the community. These are intended to prevent unsightly or poorly maintained property. However, some weed ordinances are so restrictive that they limit the ability of landowners to use natural landscaping. Landscaping that uses native plants along a lake’s shoreline mimics natural conditions and provides a buffer for the lake to filter pollutants and
Communities are beginning to recognize the benefits of more natural landscaping practices, and many have amended their weed ordinances to allow for maintained native plantings. The most common ways to approach this are through the following options:
• Setbacks: these ordinances generally require an area (such as within the front or perimeter of the lot, or from a road) in which vegetation above a certain height is not permitted. Vegetation behind the setback is unregulated, allowing landowners freedom to use native landscaping around lakes and other natural features.
• Natural landscape exception ordinance: these types of weed ordinances contain exceptions for environmentally beneficial landscapes (such as those planted for erosion control, wildlife habitat, educational purposes, etc.)
• Listing regulated plants: these ordinances include a list of plants that are unauthorized (such as noxious and invasive plants) and those that must be kept mowed below a specified height (such as turf grasses), while allowing beneficial native plants to grow taller.
Additional Reference Material
|Organization||County||Resource Description||Resource Link|
|Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership||Statewide||Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership Website||Click here|
Additional Ordinance Examples
|Municipality||County||Resource Description||Resource Link|
|Frankenlust Township||Bay County||Ordinance 4A: Weed Ordinance||Click here|
|City of Kalamazoo||Kalamazoo County||Section 22-3 A. (1): Noxious Weeds||Click here|
|Village of Paw Paw||Van Buren County||Article 4 Section 12-91: Noxious Weeds||Click here|
|Springfield Charter Township||Oakland County||Section 40-721: Landscaping, greenbelts and Buffers||Click here|