/ Modified jul 18, 2017 9:07 a.m.

Monsoon Downpours Usher in Weed Season

But what is a weed? The answer is in the eye of the beholder.

Buffelgrass Saguaro National Park hero Dense buffelgrass crowds native vegetation in Saguaro National Park. (PHOTO: National Parks Service)

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Monsoon rains bring more than respite from the penetrating summer heat. They also usher in weed season in Tucson.

But what exactly is a weed?

"It's is an anthropomorphic concept," said the University of Arizona’s weed expert Bill McCloskey. "It's a human-centric set of definitions."

Take, for example, buffelgrass. Here in Southern Arizona, where it fuels wildfires, that invasive plant is most definitely considered a weed. Not everywhere though.

"It was originally imported into this country from South Africa for erosion control and as a range grass," McCloskey said. "And it’s a very desirable range grass in west Texas and parts of Mexico."

While the definition of “weed” may be subjective, McCloskey said there may be a more pragmatic way to think about such plants.

"I encourage people to take a proactive view and think about the future. And that means stop seed production if you don't want a particular species."

That means get those weeds out of the ground before they start to flower.

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