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.