Progress to date

Before (above) and after (below) shots of Javelina Hill showing the extent of the infestation and the success at removing and keeping it clear of buffelgrass.
Before (above) and after (below) photographs of Javelina Hill showing the extent of the infestation (the large straw-colored patches) and its natural appearance after buffelgrass control.

NPS Photo

Buffelgrass is a highly invasive plant. Its seeds spread easily on the wind to new locations, where it forms dense colonies and crowds out native desert plants. Controlling a buffelgrass infestation takes years of concerted effort because buffelgrass seeds can live four to five years in the soil. Without help, the desert cannot kep buffelgrass out. Maintaining a healthy desert environment requires work.

The park, with the community's help, has had some spectacular successes. One measure of success is that our monthly volunteer buffelgrass pulls were originally held right next to roads. We have eliminated patches close to roads, so now our volunteer pulls are a bit of a hike.

Javelina Hill in the Rincon Mountain District is one of our earlier successes. The park pulled buffelgrass there and then sprayed with backpack sprayers over several years to nearly eradicate buffelgrass. We still hike through the area periodically to look for any new plants.
 
Before (above) and after (below) of the 11 acre patch near Freeman Homestead. This patch was pulled almost exclusively by volunteers once a month from 2007-2012.
Before (above) and after (below) photographs of the Freeman Homestead buffelgrass patch. This large, dense buffelgrass patch was pulled by volunteers, and native desert plants have recovered nicely.

NPS Photo

Freeman Homestead involved a massive effort by volunteers for over six years. The buffelgrass patch was 11 acres in size and had been there spreading and putting out seeds for years. From 2007 to 2012, 464 individual volunteers worked over 2,800 hours to remove the mature buffelgrass plants. The park sprayed new seedlings with herbicide as they germinated. Since 2012, the area is back to its original state.

Last updated: August 30, 2019

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Mailing Address:

3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson , AZ 85730

Phone:

(520) 733-5153
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