Saguaro Cacti Dying

Bonnie Marcus, Community Administrator

When you are driving around SunBird, you have probably noticed that we have lost a number of saguaro cacti. The common area has lost three saguaros, and an additional five have lost their limbs. Nine homeowners’ properties have lost limbs and full cacti, just in the first nine days of August.

Saguaro cacti are leaning, losing limbs, losing their skins, and falling down due to the record-breaking extreme heat and the monsoons that haven’t come. This has been a trend for the last three years, and each year it is getting hotter. They need cooler temperatures at night and rain or mist, which we have not had.

Caring for Saguaros:

If you have a saguaro in your yard, the Desert Botanical Garden recommends giving them supplemental water during periods of drought to ensure that they survive the hot summers.

“The best way to water your saguaro is to make a tree well around the base of the plant and run a hose with a trickle of water for 4-6 hours. This will allow the water to reach deep into the soil (2-3 feet) where the bulk of the roots are,” the garden’s experts recommend. Doing this process once a month during peak summer will be enough to help the plant stay hydrated until it rains, the center says.

However, it warns against overwatering, because if water is left sitting around the base of the cactus, it can cause it to fall down. Please check with your landscaper, because I have also read not to water them.

We are also losing many agaves, pine trees, and shrubs. Please remove them as soon as possible, because these are a fire hazard.

Stay cool.