Invasive Plants

A small saguaro surrounded by tall brown grass.
For invasive plant management in the Sonoran Desert, buffelgrass is the archenemy. Over 90% of our invasive plant management efforts are directed against buffelgrass

NPS photo/Bethany Hontz

What's an Invasive Plant?

Native plants evolved as part of the ecosystem and have been part of our landscape since before the arrival of Europeans. They have adapted through natural selection to the soil, climate, and other plants and animals of the ecosystem. A non-native plant species is not native to an area and, in most cases, has been introduced by people. People have transported plants to new locations for hundreds of years. Many were introduced for agriculture, landscaping or range improvement, and most of this introduction was with good intention. However, these relocated species become a problem when they successfully colonize and spread into new areas. Non-native plants are considered invasive when they are known to displace native plant species. Invasive, non-native species can be harmful or destructive to native plant and animal communities, as well as negatively impact local economies and human safety.

Why do we care?

Invasive plants know no boundaries. They can affect native plants and wildlife, change the fire regime, endanger the ecosystem, make the park less attractive for visitors, and spread beyond park borders to adjacent land.

Whether they arrived by wind, water, bird or boots, invasive plants are a threat in Saguaro National Park.

fire among a field of grass in the sonoran desert
The Threat of Invasive Species

Non-native, invasive species pose threats such as fire and crowding out native species in the Sonoran Desert.

Park Staff spraying buffelgrass
Management Strategies

Learn about the management strategies at the park.

buffelgrass patch
Get Involved

Stay up to date with how you can help Saguaro combat invasive species.


Last updated: February 22, 2024

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3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


520 733-5153

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