Weeds and Weeding
By Eddie Rodieck
To weed or not to weed?
What is a weed? A weed is considered undesirable grasses, plants, and ground covers.
Where do they grow and why?
Abundant weed growth can mostly be attributed to disturbed soil as a result of construction such as the building of homes and roadways or as a result of the forces of Mother Nature, for instance, rain causing erosion and flooding.
Where do you normally see weed growth in town?
In disturbed areas along roadways, vacant lots, and homes that have been landscaped (disturbed soil).
If you pay attention a little bit further, you will notice weeds and grass generally don’t grow in a natural desert setting. Look along desert roadways. Grass is growing along the road and not in the desert (buffelgrass being the exception).
Also there is no need to worry about the noxious weed white fountain grass which is sometimes mistaken for buffelgrass. Originally used in landscape designs, it has now been banned. It will not spread into the desert, it will only grow in disturbed soil such as along roadways. For example, you can find it along Sunrise where the hillsides have been cut.
You’ll notice some homeowners who live in the desert not only raise the canopy of the trees, which is not unattractive, but they also remove the dense natural undergrowth and grade the dirt beneath the trees. Not only will it take time for the natural desert fauna to regrow, the weeds will replace the vegetation. A second unexpected consequence is that the critters such as scorpions will head to the nearest refuge and shade; your home.
The more interesting point and observation here is if weeds grow and flourish in disturbed soil, where do they grow and flourish in a natural settings? “In disturbed soil,” most commonly along washes is where you will find grasses and desert broom growing. Floodplains also generate fields of grass like putting greens during monsoons.
The beauty of this is that it is “mother nature’s” way of controlling erosion. Parallels: I will let you draw your own conclusions.