Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Buffle grass has gotten a bad rap in these parts. Maligned as an "alien" and an "invader" that exacerbates wildfire, this opportunistic immigrant from the African savannah has sunk its roots deep in the Sonoran Desert. Not happy to be outdone, descendants of European immigrants organize work parties obsessed with eradicating this lovely grass.
I joined a band of Weed Wackers one weekend last spring. Armed with pick axes, we hacked at the grass's roots and trampled dozens of other species in the process. The group bagged a giant trailer load of buffle grass after several hours of back-breaking, ankle-twisting labor. But I often wonder what gain this could possibly have, when several acres of thriving buffle grass remain, since it only takes a few seeds to repopulate the area that was uprooted. Wouldn't it be easier to welcome this lovely new addition to our landscape, just as we have invited and spread our own seed? Or is there some kind of human need to fear and loathe an "other," even if it is a non-sentient and bloodless plant? Or is compulsive weeding just an human character bred into us from our agricultural heritage?
I've decided to accept buffle grass as part of the new suburban landscape. They've got just as much right to be here as I do!