Tag Archives: Buffelgrass

August 1, 2016

The chubascos come and they come, stirring the largest and most massive eruptions of flying ants I’ve ever seen hatch on the Desert. They simply fill the air, and getting through them on the roads in the truck is like driving through dark snow squalls, with black ice pellets rattling on the windshield. The sound makes my skin crawl. I race along to the Community Center under a sky that means business, walk quickly as can be managed up the rocky slope above and have some unreasonable hope that we’ve got somewhere with eliminating Buffelgrass up there and I won’t have to be delayed into being bait for the lightning that is already a-flash. And–there is no Buffelgrass! not a plant, not a seedling. Native grasses in new and surprising variety blanket everywhere, including the spaces we’d made by having pulled out Buffel over the last couple of years. A Cassin’s Sparrow sings out across the gulf of that wide arroyo as I rush into the truck! (The bird is all over the place this year, every spot but Mason’s that is, where I most expected them to return.) I have to get up the wash bottom near El Potrero to see about that formerly serious Buffelgrass colony I call Yvonne’s Buffelgrass Gulch, once full of the dangerous plants that had stair-stepped up from the sandy bottom flat right up to the mesa crest. Do I have a brain? Why do I end up doing this thing so often when there is the threat of getting turned into burnt toast by lightning? It’s not like life in these wilds isn’t thrilling enough that we need to search out even more excitement.

The lightning is coming in pairs by the time the search for clumps and seedlings of that Buffelgrass is wrapped up and the slope gives me to know the plants, here too, are gone!

January 11, 2014

Alex and I hike on up the scree and loose rock and ledges above those deep arroyos on our higher range that rises from the edge of the Cascabel Road, and we’re delighted to find that there are so few buffelgrass plants that it takes some hunting to come up with any, and even better, none show evidence of having let seeds go into the wind. We’ve caught this lot before it could get into that invasive species’s gleeful mischief! They were all green, actively growing, several even with fresh purple inflorescences that would soon enough bear and drop those dreaded viable seeds. Heads with that propagation potential are nipped off and go into the trash bag, the plant from which it comes grubbed out with a dandelion fork and left to dry, die, and return its nutrients to the native wildflowers whose space it intended to usurp. Those wildflowers, by the way, are really developing! Lupines vigorous though still small, and lots of seedlngs of poppies, and green lacy seedlings of Phacelia. Oh, somehow to get those wildflowers their next drink, before it’s too late, but there’s nothing to give hope in the 10-day forecast. We come up with only eight buffelgrass plants in the whole area, none of them very large, all of them despite the precarious footing for us humans are easily, um, neutralized.