PHOENIX — Arizona's obnoxiously hot summer is not only smashing records, but ruining landscapes left and right. The damage is leaving valley homeowners like Jessica Lin without iconic saguaros in their front yards.
Lin's saguaro was a landscape centerpiece, and had stood out front of her home since the 70s. But now, under insurmountable pressure from the heat, it's lying in scraps. While family members hope to propagate the beloved cactus, there's not much hope following its massive tumble last week.
"My whole family is heartbroken. When it fell, it shook the whole house barely missing my car and my neighbor's," Lin explained.
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When the cactus was planted at the Phoenix home, it was only about five feet tall. In the years since, it grew to double the height of the house. Thanks to a lack of rain, shade and reasonable temperatures, the saguaro split from the base and broke apart.
"It's just sad, it was the biggest cactus is the neighborhood. Everybody who comes into town, takes pictures in front of it because it was a marvel, it was so giant."
Sadly, saguaros splitting seems to be happening more often. Roger Socha, a long-time landscape expert explains, with summer temps ceasing to let up, the "heat island effect" is negatively impacting our plants. Even the cacti can't survive the heat.
"It's increasing the ambient temperature, the nighttime temperature beyond what they normally are for the environment were in, so the concrete absorbs the heat from the sun and then radiates it for a period of time," Socha said.
Lin explained, just days before it fell completely, she noticed the arms of the saguaro starting to droop. She then decided to set up a camera, but the damage done was much worse than just a single arm.
"It was so massive, it must've been 2,000 pounds. I don't even think hoisting it up would've helped. It was going to collapse."
Her hope now is that a replanted part of the original will flourish in the front yard, even if it will never quite be the same.
Here are several videos about Arizona's extreme heat and how you can stay safe during the state's summer months.