Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Four hikers go into the canyon with shovels. Three come out..."

Aravaipa is one of the most scenic of Arizona's many beautiful scenic canyons. Unfortunately, like many riparian areas in the southwest it's beauty and ecology are threatened by the invasive species Russian Olive, or tamarisk.

"Tamarisk SHOULD NOT BE in Aravaipa canyon.

We're getting it done, beating the monsters back, yanking them from their dirty little nests - taproots and all - and hanging up on the rocks to die. This is the best way to stop them from re-rooting themselves - but it's also the 21st-century equivalent of nailing owl-skins to the barn wall to ward off witches: begone, ye cursed tamarisks!

We worked the area from just below the Narrows almost to Virgus canyon. In the spring we pulled thousands of seedlings out of this stretch of canyon. The ones we missed grew a lot over the summer, especially their root systems, and these had to be dug and picked and pulled with the extra leverage of a weed-wrench. We estimate that we pulled out 100-150 plants. One was even flowering (the hussy!)."

[this quote is excerpted personal communication, Diana Turner, volunteer leader]

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