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August, 2011

Killing Tamarisk along the Colorado River

The Tamarisk situation is also getting better with large swaths of dead Tamarisk . It’s really exciting to see them going away. I didn’t snap any photos of them, but if anyone has any, let me know.

Some more information about Tamarisk From and the Tamarisk beetle that’s eating them:

How long will it take for the beetles to kill off the Tamarisk?
To “kill off” a Tamarisk plant without chemicals or removal of the total plant and roots from the ground is difficult. However, repeated defoliation of the plant leads to a reduction in photosynthesis and thus food for the plant/roots. Each time the plant is defoliated should result in a decrease or dying off of some of the root mass. If this happens repeatedly and the plant isn’t allowed to grow new foliage and retain it for an extended length of time, it is possible to kill the plant. Estimates on die off of the Tamarisk due to defoliation via the beetle suggest 3 to 5 years, but this could be longer or shorter depending on the size of the plant and its root mass, how often it’s defoliated and how limited the time is that the plant retains foliage.

In short, killing Tamarisks is good because:

  1. They soak up too much water.
  2. They kill native vegetation like cottonwoods and willows.
  3. They create impenetrable barriers along the river for animals and people.
  4. They provide a lousy habitat for other animals.
  5. They constrict the river.

The efforts are working.  Keep up the good work!

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