Death of a Saguaro

giant Saguaro
giant Saguaro

Saguaros can be affected by high winds and heavy rain just as trees are.  During windy weather, I love to observe saguaros swaying gently in the breeze.  In the summertime in Arizona, we have a monsoon season.  The word “monsoon” means “wind shift” or “season”.  This shift in the wind brings warm, moist air from Mexico which causes brief, intense storms.  Heavy rain, lightning, and high winds are a common occurrence during this time.  Sadly, this saguaro, (above), did not survive the latest monsoon storm of that summer.

giant Saguaro

This large giant fell in a landscape area in the community where I worked as a horticulturist.  This was one of my favorite saguaro cacti.  There had been a few consecutive days of heavy rain and wind, which caused this beautiful saguaro to fall.

*To get an idea of how large this saguaro was, the man walking in front of it is over 6 ft. tall.

There were two other casualties besides the saguaro cactus itself.  As many of you may know, some types of birds make their homes in saguaros.  This particular saguaro was home to a Cactus Wren and her babies. 

giant Saguaro
giant Saguaro
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel
    Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel says:

    The sight of this fallen saguro makes me very sad, although it is part of nature.
    When I was finally able to visit Saguaro National Forest the winter before last, I felt so profoundly moved that the feeling is as strong today as it was at the time. I hope to return one day. These plants are so very special.

  2. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Wow! What a beautiful specimen that was. It is a real loss when one of these giants of the desert falls.

    We have a giant saguaro across from us that we can see from our family room window and it has died over the summer. Arms are falling here and there and most of the animals have abandoned it. Some woodpeckers still stop by.

    I was surprised at how fast this particular saguaro turned from green to brown. It will most assuredly fall during the winter winds and rains; too bad!


  3. Pege
    Pege says:

    We got to see many saguaro's going thru AZ in July. The are awesome! I kept pestering hubby to stop, but alas it was the 1st day of a long trip….

    Can you taken one of the "broken arms" and plant it like you can with some other succulents?

  4. Rohrerbot
    Rohrerbot says:

    Oh my goodness. This is such a tragic post. The Saguaro was beautiful but then the poor little birds!! We had a terrible rain event yesterday….nasty weather that dumped over 2 inches of rain within an hour!! My oak trees lost many leaves from the hail falling all around.

  5. says:

    Hello Pege,

    I have heard from a University of Arizona professor that you can't transplant a saguaro arm. AND I have heard from other people that you can.

    What I do know is that if you transplant an arm, it can live for a couple of years living off of the water stored inside. So, to tell you the truth, I honestly don't know if it's possible 😉


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