Recent photos of toppled cacti in Arizona’s sweltering heat have highlighted the struggle of native plants.

Owner of Cultiva Landscaping Alfonzo Chavez explains the challenges plants encounter and provides practical solutions to ensure their survival.

“Native plants are still trying to revive after the excessive heat and with the storms we’ve been seeing recently they’re actually still suffering, but homeowners can help with how they utilize their water runoff,” Chavez said.

While monsoon rains provide much-needed relief for native plants, experts warn that excess rainwater can cause disaster for these resilient species.

“A lot of these plants that are sitting in water like to have periods in which the root zone, so if it’s always wet, it will rot and then it will topple over,” Chavez said.

Chavez, who established his landscaping business with a specific focus on native plants, has been receiving a surge of calls concerning fallen saguaro cacti this summer. According to him, this unfortunate situation isn’t unexpected.

“Especially in these inner city areas where people want saguaros in their yards, this backfield or construction dirt isn’t as filtering as saguaros would like and so there’s a lot of moisture retention,” Chavez said.

Chavez suggests harvesting rooftop runoff to benefit landscapes, while careful plant placement and sunlight consideration can prevent moisture-related issues.

“Harvesting your water from your rooftops and utilize it in ways that are beneficial to your landscape and keeping it from getting into things that it shouldn’t be,” Chavez said.

As Arizona’s climate grows increasingly unpredictable, Chavez’s expertise offers vital insights for preserving the state’s native flora.