Cactus Carnage?

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Sredfield
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Cactus Carnage?

Post by Sredfield » Jan 27 2010 5:04 pm

What's with all the reports of fallen cactus? I have seen several and trip logs are full of reports of real cactus carnage. This the first time I've heard of such since I've lived here (1991). Anyone have authoritative information on this phenomenon?
Shawn
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chumley
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by chumley » Jan 27 2010 5:13 pm

Two words: climate change
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PrestonSands
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by PrestonSands » Jan 27 2010 9:26 pm

If you are referring to fallen saguaros, it may be due to the heavy rainfall from last week. Soggy soil plus wind=down they go.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 27 2010 10:09 pm

Preston Sands wrote:If you are referring to fallen saguaros, it may be due to the heavy rainfall from last week. Soggy soil plus wind=down they go.
That, and it has been pretty dry for a while now. They likely sucked up a lot of water during the storm making them even more top-heavy and apt to fall...
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azbackpackr
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 28 2010 10:47 am

How many have fallen in some areas? Where are these photos you were talking about? Post a link, if you have time. (I'm not going to look all over HAZ for some random photos.)
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Dave1
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by Dave1 » Jan 28 2010 11:17 am

We saw 2 large recently fallen saguaros during a hike to Massacre Grounds this past Sunday.


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writelots
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by writelots » Jan 28 2010 12:35 pm

I've actually seen numerous areas of "downed" saguaros following epic storms throughout AZ in my lifetime. My grandparents lost a majestic Sag in their yard that had probably been there for over a hundred years before the drought hit. It was after they received several inches of rain, saw their wash run for the first time and had near-tornado force winds. Even though they don't have much wind load compared to, say, a mesquite, they also lack the deep root system that would support them under the most stressful conditions. Their fine, shallow root system is great for taking advantage of every small rain event - but especially if they're located close to large rock outcroppings, bedrock or sandy soils, some don't have a whole lot holding them up. I think this storm was just an extraordinary condition. The good thing is that the downed giants will provide excellent food, water and habitat for the wee critters of the desert. As long as some bozo doesn't come along and "collect" the ribs for their blinking yard!

This goes back to the old 'don't shoot at saguaros' rule that used to keep a fair control on the redneck population in AZ. Nothing like a 2 ton cactus hitting you in the face to remind you that they aren't as sturdy as they look! :o :D
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joebartels
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by joebartels » Jan 28 2010 1:22 pm

I get the rain/wind reasoning. Just seems ODD most of these have survived well over 75 years, look healthy and then it's over. This past storm was big but it's not like it doesn't happen at least every 10-20 years. Guess some have just been hanging on to their last fiber of stamina fooling us.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 28 2010 2:52 pm

There are some folks out at Saguaro East studying this phenomenon right now, apparently. If I hear anything more about what they discover I'll post back...
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azbackpackr
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 28 2010 7:22 pm

While we are on the topic of saguaros, some friends of mine, Bob Cardell and Pat Hammes, of SAHC, spent several years photographing crestate saguaros, and they are credited with finding more of them than anyone else ever has. The goal was to find 1,000 of them, and they actually found more than that. You can be sure they hiked many rugged miles in this pursuit. Had fun doing it, too, he says... http://www.tucsoncactus.org/html/2007_m ... eting.html
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nonot
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by nonot » Jan 28 2010 8:58 pm

Just because a plant sprouts doesn't mean it's picked a good place to grow. Ground gets wet and plants, trees, and cactus fall over. It's not a sign of the apocalypse ;)
Since the AZ ground is rock hard otherwise, rain is going to be the cause of nearly all the falls.
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by JimmyLyding » Jan 28 2010 9:08 pm

joe bartels wrote:I get the rain/wind reasoning. Just seems ODD most of these have survived well over 75 years, look healthy and then it's over. This past storm was big but it's not like it doesn't happen at least every 10-20 years. Guess some have just been hanging on to their last fiber of stamina fooling us.
Joe, this storm was pretty darn big. Not only did we see the huge storm on Thursday, but the ground was already wet from the smaller storm earlier in the week.

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Sredfield
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by Sredfield » Jan 28 2010 11:18 pm

Yes, it was big, but was it unprecedented? I've never seen or heard of them falling over like this, and in this number. I'll be interested in what the folks at Saquaro find.
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desertgirl
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by desertgirl » Jan 30 2010 11:14 pm

Did the Dutchmand 104 trail. Saw just one saguaro that was toppled over-- not a big one -- more thank likely the cactus picked a bad spot to put down roots at. Some of the super big specimens were fine!

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Jan 31 2010 8:46 am

So when a saguaro falls over does the ground scream like a prickly pear stuck HAZ hiker? :scared: :sl:
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big_load
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by big_load » Jan 31 2010 10:48 am

SuperstitionGuy wrote:So when a saguaro falls over does the ground scream like a prickly pear stuck HAZ hiker?
If the ground screams and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

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snakemarks
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by snakemarks » Jan 31 2010 5:18 pm

I saw probably 30 of them down in O'Grady Canyon, but nowhere else along my route that day. The heavy rain fell everywhere in the Supes, so I tend to think the wind and the direction of the storm pushed them over the edge, so to speak. Here's the link to the first of four in my photoset for First Water Upper Loop on 01/26/10. Photos 29 -32 are downed saguaros.

http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=119663
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johnlp
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by johnlp » Jan 31 2010 5:35 pm

I saw three or four big saguaro down today on my hike to Skull Mesa. Not many considering how many are out there.
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tibber
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Re: Cactus Carnage?

Post by tibber » Jan 31 2010 7:57 pm

We saw about 1/2 dozen or so of downed saguaros in the LFP area :( . But what was even more interesting is the downed :o Desert Foothill Paloverdes on Peak #1 (littlest and most northern of the 4)... I do believe these little Palo Verde don't have much of a root system either and even as low as they are to the ground, some of them just couldn't hold on. :(

When we passed by one of the littler downed saguaros, John stuck his hiking pole into it and the thing spurted out water; it was really gushy like a sponge. I'll try and post pics mid-week if all goes well.
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