Invasive plant management is not a one-size-fits-all type of effort. For our efforts to succeed, we implement species-specific management strategies.
The methods that we use are chiefly manual removal and chemical control. You may have seen teams of hardy buffelgrass removal volunteers, with gloves and tools, digging out the plants. Park Service staff and interns also apply an herbicide containing glyphosate during the growing season, when plants are over 50% green.
Prescribed fire is successfully used in other National Parks to control some of the same invasive plants. However, in desert areas of Saguaro National Park, where the native plants are not fire-adapted but the non-natives are, fire is less appropriate as a method of control. Biological controls, introducing another exotic species to control the invasive plant, such as goats to eat the grasses or insects to destroy the seeds, are not in current use.
There are opportunities throughout the year to help with buffelgrass management at Saguaro National Park, as well as other areas in and around Tucson. Activities include mapping buffelgrass infestations, participating in the Weed Free Trails program, joining monthly buffelgrass pulls (September-May), as well as education and outreach events. Contact the invasives species coordinator for more information about opportunities in the park.
Last updated: July 10, 2019