April 10, 2015

How green is my desert

When I tell people out of state that I live in the Arizona desert, they sometimes think the landscape is dry and sandy. Not so. Before humans came here to do agriculture, the valley was primarily native grasses and that must have been lovely, watching it sway in the wind. But people decided all that good grass needed grazing and brought cattle. We get limited rainfall however, which is why this is a "desert", and the place was overgrazed in a short time.

With cattle came the mesquites and that is now the majority of the vegetation. This month it is leafing out. When left alone it is shrubby, and thorny, but when it gets supplemental water it grows into a nice shade tree as shown below.

It is a lovely time of year with the desert in bloom, and the mesquites will remain green until frost.

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