Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Buffle Grass

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!


Jackijo said...

Interesting post and take on it. I guess anything non-native is considered a threat to the balance of the ecosystem. So that means we are a threat to the ecosystem. Of course it is too late to return it back to what it once was. I just don't want to lose the large stands of Saguaros and the carpets of spring wildflowers to buffelgrass.

Katherine Darrow said...

Well, we've lost an awful lot to parking lots, highways, housing developments and malls....What exactly is the difference?

Chris Webb said...

According to buffelgrass will end up destroying all of the saguaros, many other sacred species in AZ, and our Sonoran Desert way of life, if allowed to grow at the current rate. I didn't know there was a way to battle it. Thanks for your hard work, I'm sure it wasn't in vain.

Katherine Darrow said...

"If allowed to grow at the current rate..." Does that also apply to our cities and suburbs? Do we start pulling up asphalt? Do we start.....well, we really can't go there, can we?