KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This isn’t about the “weed” some might be thinking of.

The Overland Park City Council met Monday night to approve an update to the city’s Weed and Vegetation Enforcement Act. The act encourages those living in the city to grow native plants.

This is the first adjustment made to the ordinance since 2011.

“The ordinance was also out of sync with sustainable landscaping practices promoted through the City’s stormwater cost-share program,” City Sustainability Manager Lara Isch said.

“This program promotes beneficial native plantings and rain gardens, and the update brings the City’s code into alignment with that goal.”

Community feedback from those a part of the Legacy of Greenery Committee suggests these changes to the ordinance.

“Native plants provide numerous benefits to our city and ecosystems. Once established, they’re easy to maintain, don’t require fertilizer, and help our clay soils absorb stormwater,” Isch said.

“Of course, they also support other native species. Every native garden that we have is a source of food and shelter for our native wildlife.”

The update to the ordinance also adjusts height rules for vegetation. This will allow planned sustainable landscapes, ornamental gardens and food-producing gardens. The sustainable landscaping must have a clearly defined boundary and be planted away from nearby property.

The ordinance adjustment also throws out Overland Park’s definition of weeds. Instead, they will rely on the expertise from the Department of Agriculture to decide which weeds are harmful.

With all that said, the ordinance “remains largely the same.” Residents must still mow their lawns and keep flower beds and gardens free of harmful weeds.

To read further about the update to the ordinance and more, you can visit the Overland Park website.