Monday, February 1, 2010

Invasive Plant Species in Arizona!!

Today was my day for spring pruning, and gosh there was alot of it!! While I finished the front yard, the back remains. While doing this endeavor, I couldn't help but think of all the invasive plants that are invading our desert right here in Arizona, including the Buffelgrass in my yard.

Every species of course, has a home in some part of the world, where it probably has existed for thousands of years, given the right climate, moisture, soils and the like. But when a plant is brought into another region and is non-native, there is a possibility that it will become invasive by growing rapidly and overwhelming and displacing existing vegetation.

This certain has been the case of Buffelgrass. Native to Africa and the Middle East, this perennial grass plant is extremely drought tolerant and reestablishes and expands its range quickly after fire. New plants produce seeds in as little as six weeks. Besides spreading quickly, the Buffelgrass is highly flammable and is a real threat to our desert plants, particularly our Saguaro, because once on fire it burns at a temperature of 450 degrees F.

Another example of an invasive plant here in Arizona is the Giant Cane, also known as elephant grass. This species, which comes from Europe, is now taking over many of our creek areas. The Giant Cane has numerous root clumps that can expand out 10-20 feet in diameter, and then have fibrous roots that creep out another 15-20 feet. The actual cane grows from 6 to 20 feet high.

In the photos, there are pictures of both of these plants along with some yard shots where pruning was completed

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