Saguaro National Park to resume buffelgrass spraying - Tucson News Now

Saguaro National Park to resume buffelgrass spraying

Buffelgrass in Saguaro National Park (Source: Bethany Hontz, NPS staff) Buffelgrass in Saguaro National Park (Source: Bethany Hontz, NPS staff)
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Saguaro National Park will be continuing with its plans to deal with buffelgrass, thanks in part to the recent monsoon activity in Southern Arizona.

According to a recent release officials with Saguaro National Park will be spraying herbicide on the invasive plant, a process that requires the plant to be more than 50 percent green. Monsoon storms have allowed much of the plants to reach this status and volunteers will be taking advantage of this fact.

Officials with Saguaro National Park are not anticipating any public closures due to the spraying, most of which will be dry within 15 minutes of application. Areas that have been sprayed will appear blue, thanks to a special dye added to the herbicide. Spraying will take place at both the Tucson Mountain park and the Rincon Mountain park along 50 miles of roadway and 450 acres of park land. Treatment of all areas could take anywhere from 2 to 3 months, according to park officials.

Buffelgrass is a non-native plant that burns easily during wildfires, and continues to choke out native plant species. There are only two methods of removal - herbicide spraying or hand removal. Thanks to the efforts of groups like Tucson Clean and Beautiful, Sonoran Desert Weed Wackers and Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center the hand removal effort continues during the dry season.

The herbicide spray treatment is an approved method that can be viewed at www.nps.gov/sagu/parkmgmt/restoration-plan.htm Helicopters will be used to spray the herbicide on steep, remote patches of buffelgrass. Dates when the aerial spraying will take place will be announced later.

For additional information, including a map of the areas to be sprayed by ground crews, please go online to http://www.nps.gov/sagu/naturescience/invasive-plants.htm

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