@ the Harwood Art Center . Albuquerque . New Mexico . Fall 2009 - [Now Under the Forces of Nature]
And...a Thank You, to all that supported the project and a special Thank You, Thank You to our most generous hosts!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tumbleweed + Salt Cedar

Saltcedar is the common name for several introduced species of shrubs or small trees including Tamarix chinensis, T. parviflora, and T. ramosissima.Saltcedar invades riparian habitats and displaces native flora and fauna. Saltcedar was first introduced in the U.S. to reclaim eroded areas and prevent further loss of stream banks, primarily in the southwest. Saltcedar has been sold in the horticultural industry, primarily for its wide adaptability and pink flowers.

Why is this plant a concern? Saltcedar can quickly become a monoculture along lakes and waterways. A single plant has been reported to transpire over 200 gallons of water per day. In the early morning and evening moisture with high salt content is exuded from the foliage, causing the soil to become saline. Saltcedar can choke waterways and has even dried up entire lakes (Figure 4). Native riparian species are quickly displaced by saltcedar, which in turn causes displacement of native birds and animals that generally do not feed on the leaves or eat the saltcedar seeds. Saltcedar, even in the seedling stage, will tolerate short-term flooding and can establish away from waterways when seeds are washed in during flooding.