A weed is often defined by horticulturists as “a plant out of place.” Plants that are prized by many gardeners can be weeds if they are growing somewhere that they’re not wanted, and plants that many people think of as weeds can be quite valuable if they’re growing in the right situation. However, when it comes to buffelgrass, everyone in Arizona can agree that it needs to go! Here’s some helpful information on how to identify and control this invasive weed on this year’s upcoming “Beat Back Buffelgrass Day.”
The annual event known as “Beat Back Buffelgrass Day” happens this coming Saturday, January 24th. This is the day that the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Cooridination Center (SABCC) organizes volunteers to eradicate buffelgrass in both urban and natural areas around Tucson.
This year, SABCC and Borderlands Brewing Company are sponsering an afterparty with live bluegrass music, and they’re offering FREE BEER with a $20 donation! Even if you don’t get to join in the fun of volunteering to beat back buffelgrass, you can still help the cause by showing up for the afterparty, enjoying good music, making a donation, and enjoying free beer!
If you plan to volunteer, you can follow the afterparty link in the paragraph above to register.
Of course, you don’t have to sign up on a roster to beat back buffelgrass in your own back yard! Whether or not you plan to volunteer, it’s important for renters and homeowners in the Tucson area to familiarize themselves with this invasive plant for their own safety, and this is a crucial time of year to remove clumps (before they begin growing and producing more seed).
What is Buffelgrass? An invasive bunching grass from Africa that was introduced to Arizona in the 1930’s to control erosion and feed cattle.
How is Buffelgrass Dangerous? It forms dense thickets that crowd out our native plants and prevent them from growing. When buffelgrass dies back every year, it leaves behind clumps of dry, flammable leaves that remain in dense thickets; making it easy for fires to start and spread quickly. When a fire occurs, buffelgrass is able to re-grow quickly, while slower-growing native plants are completely wiped out.
How do I get rid of Buffelgrass? Like many weeds, the best way to eradicate buffelgrass is by physically removing the clumps and disposing of them in garbage bags so that the seeds don’t spread. Treating with herbicide may kill the plant, but physical removal is still necessary to reduce the fire hazard posed by the dried leaves that are left behind. Small clumps can be pulled easily, but larger clumps may require a shovel or another sturdy garden tool for removal.