Buffelgrass Is More Dangerous To the Saguaro Cactus Than Freezing Temperatures!   2 comments

Ned's Nature Walk -- 01-1-09-13

Ned's Nature Walk -- 01-1-09-13

Ned's Nature Walk -- 01-1-09-13Buffelgrass In Sabino Canyon — Images by kenne

When the Tucson area experiences sub-freezing temperatures, as it did a week ago, many express a concern for our stately Saguaro cacti. This icon of the Sonoran Desert can be damaged by long hours below freezing, depending on the health of each cactus, but the biggest treat to the saguaro is fire. The above images show many saguaro cactus surrounded by an invasive species, Buffelgrass. The upper right of the top photos has no buffelgrass, which represents a more normal view of the canyon vegetation. 

Buffelgrass grows densely and crowds out native plants of similar size. Competition for water can weaken and kill larger desert plants. Dense roots and ground shading prevent germination of seeds. Buffelgrass can kill most native plants by these means alone. However, buffelgrass provides an intense fuel for wildfires and resprouts vigorously after fires, where most native desert plants are killed — including the saguaros.

Removing buffelgrass from steep slopes such as those being inspected by Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist, Mark Hengersbaugh is a very difficult task, which often involves the individual removal of each plant.

The image below is from a posting about a year ago I did on buffelgrass. Many volunteers are at work removing this invasive plant, but many more are needed. (Click here for link to earlier posting.)


Esperero trail to the RidgeMarkus removing buffelgrass in the Esperero Canyon, February 24, 2012 — Images by kenne 


2 responses to “Buffelgrass Is More Dangerous To the Saguaro Cactus Than Freezing Temperatures!

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  1. This appears to be a never ending job!


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