Archive for the ‘Invasive species’ Tag

Fountaingrass, A Serious Invasive Species In The Sabino Canyon Recreational Area   1 comment

7 Falls Oct 2013-8239 blogFountaingrass in Bear Canyon — Image by kenne



killing plants,


— kenne

Honey Bee On London Rocket Wildflower   2 comments

Bee On London Rocket-3-72Honey Bee On London Rocket Wildflower — Image by kenne

The London Rocket is a naturalized weed native to Europe. It is most common in riparian areas, fields, drainage ditches, and in vacant lots. Because of the timing of desert winter rains this year, this weed seems to be everywhere. “The common name ‘London rocket’ comes from its abundance after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was also noticed on bomb sites after the Blitz.”

— kenne

Fountain Grass   2 comments

Baby Jesus Trail Nov 2012Fountain Grass in the Santa Catalina Mountains — Image by kenne

Fountain grass is commonly used desert landscape in Tucson. Yes, it’s attractive, but it produces lots of seeds that spread rapidly from cultivation into nearby disturbed areas, and eventually into natural habitats. It typically forms dense stands, aggressively competes with native species, especially perennial grasses, and seasonal annuals, for space, water, and nutrients. The above photograph was taken in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness area in the Santa Catalina Mountains several miles from where it may have been part of someone’s landscape.

Forest Fires are common in the mountains of southern Arizona, and fountain grass provides lots of fuel and is well adapted to fire therefore is a serious threat to the native species.

— kenne

National Public Lands Day — Before and After   2 comments

invasive-plants-1-of-1-pappas-grass-before-blogBefore Image by kenne

This is a before snapshot of soft feather pappus grass in and area where Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN)would be removing invasive plants. Our focus would be to clear this area where we teach elementary children about nature, October through April.

pappus-grass-after-blogAfter Image by kenne

This after image illustrates how effective invasive plants are at crowding out native plants.

diamondback-blogRattlesnake Image by kenne

Removing invasive plants requires a lot of caution, keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes. There is a western diamondback rattlesnake in this image, which is a good example of how well the blend into grass. The snake is coiled center-right in this image.

National Public Lands Day Is September 24th   Leave a comment

invasive-plants-1-of-1-pampas-grass-blogPampas Grass In Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

For many, pampas grass is an ornamental landscape plant, for others it’s an environmentally dangerous plant that crowds out indigenous desert plants and can become kneeling for wildfires. Sabino Canyon has a lot of pampas grass, fountain grass, buffel grass and other invasive plants. The battle to remove these invasive plants continues on National Public Lands Day as Sabino Stewards (Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists) and community members will be digging, pulling, and bagging invasive plants near the Sabino Creek area. This activity is one of several activities that will be taking place in the Coronado National Forest September 24th on Public Lands Day. All fees are waived for the day.

— kenne

Once an invasive species arrives, it’s about impossible yo get rid of it.

— Sean Hanna

Collared Dove In Southern Arizona   2 comments

Collared Dove (1 of 1)-3 blogCollared Dove — Images by kenne

The collared dove is one of the largest doves and a relative newcomer to Arizona, therefore it is considered an invasive species. In the 1970’s a shipment of Eurasian collared doves was sent to an exotic bird dealer in the Bahamas in place of an order of Ringed Neck Turtle Doves (also known as the Barbary Dove). They were then accidentally released and quickly made their way to Florida by the mid 1980’s. They grew in numbers, and then began making their way westward. 

Annual bird counts conducted by the Audubon Society place the first recorded sightings in Arizona at 2001. Since that time, their numbers have been steadily increasing and can be found in all areas of the state.

— kenne

Collared Dove (1 of 1)-4 blog

Good Intentions   1 comment

SCVN Graduation & Ned's Nature Walk-5558 blog

Beautiful Intruder: Sweet Resinbush (Euryops subcarnosus) — Images by kenne

During a recent nature walk, I was eager to photograph this beautiful plant before learning that it is an “unwanted” intruder in Sabino Canyon and we would soon be pulling it up.

The plant, sweet resinbush, was brought here from South Africa in the 1930’s with the good intentions of providing forage for livestock and aid in slowing soil erosion. But, like a lot of good intentions, it proved to be more harmful than good — encroaching into healthy grasslands and choking out native vegetation. 


SCVN Graduation & Ned's Nature Walk-5559 blog

Good intentions never change anything. They only become a deeper and deeper rut.

— Joyce Meyer


Down By The Creekside   2 comments

MMM 02-04-13Creekside — Image by kenne

Monitoring grass
Where the dead covers new growth
Down by the creekside

— kenne

Fountaingrass, A Curse Or Blessing   7 comments

Colorful Fountain Grass blogColorful Fountaingrass (HD) — Image by kenne

For some it’s a curse
Competes with native species
Provides fuel to fire.

An exotic grass
A popular landscape choice
Attractive image.

As a naturalist
It’s just an exotic pest
That must be destroyed.

— kenne

Fountaingrass, A Serious Invasive Species In The Sonoran Desert   3 comments

7 Falls Oct 2013-8239 blogFountaingrass in Bear Canyon — Image by kenne



killing plants,


— kenne

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 


Capturing The Moment — Fountaingrass Along The Wash   1 comment

Fountaingrass Near The Tanque Verde Wash In Tucson — Images by kenne

An attractive plant that was introduced to southern Arizona in the middle of the last century. Fountaingrass is native to North Africa and the Middle East. An invasive plant, it has been widely cultivated as an ornamental.


Fountain Grass

Invasive beauty

Generating love and hate

Not a remedy.


Capturing The Moment — Wiping Out Buffelgrass, One Person At A Time   1 comment

Buffelgrass has taken over most of the left slop of this area in the Esperero Canyon. Even so, Markus has dedicated himself to removing buffelgrass one plant at a time.

Esperero Trail runs from Sabino Canyon, through Rattlesnake and Bird Canyons before entering Esperero Canyon and a series of switchbacks up to a ridge, appropriately called “Cardiac Gap.” This is the second time in a little over a month that we have hiked this trial to the gap. This time, as in January, the weather was beautiful, with an abundance of “Tucson blue” sky, but this time the wildflowers were making an early spring appearance,  especially at the higher elevations along the trail.

Even with all the natural beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountains, on this day it was being co-opted by invasive plants species, one of which is buffelgrass. Although much too common to southern Arizona and most of Sonora, it is native to most of Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia and nearby islands, and tropical Asia. A big competitor for water, it weakens and kills larger desert plants, while making it difficult for new native plant growth. Additionally, buffelgrass provides “gas on the fire” for wildfires, which would destroy most desert plants like the Saguaro cactus, but not buffelgrass — buffelgrass would be the first to grow back.

Although there are several southern Arizona organized efforts to rid the areas of this invasive plant, i.e., Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordinating Center (SABCC) and the Sonoran Desert Weedwackers, many individuals put in long hours along on the difficult canyon slops of the picturesque Catalina Mountains. My hat’s off to Markus and the many others with his passion and drive.


Markus removing buffelgrass in the Esperero Canyon, February 24, 2012 — Images by kenne 

Source: “Buffelgrass is a wildfire waiting to happen.”

Capturing The Moment — Crystal Springs Trail   4 comments

After the 2003 Aspen Fire much of the burned area was seeded with a mix of native plant species designed to prevent non-native invasive plants from becoming established in areas affected by the fire. The result over the years since is a very thick ground cover that at times make it difficult to follow the trail. (See photo below.) I did some research trying to name the above flower, but will now have to depend on some of my naturalists friends to help name the wildflower. As you can see, it was getting some light through the thick foliage

One of the many trails through the area seeded is the Crystal Springs Trail, which we hiked yesterday. The trail is on the north side of Mount Lemmon, often referred to by Summerheaven residents as the “backside”.  There are two ways to reach the trail, one from an intersection of the Butterfly Trail, the other from the Control road, which was named that since it was the only access to Summerhaven before the Santa Catalina Highway was built. We hiked the trail down to a small springs, which like a lot of the area was difficult to find because of all the overgrowth where still some of the giant walnut trees remain.


Images by kenne

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