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Mr. Smarty Plants - Prediction on 2007 wildflower blooming chances

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Sunday - February 25, 2007

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Prediction on 2007 wildflower blooming chances
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Do you have a prediction on the wildflower season this year? Last year was very poor compared to other years and my sister from Georgia is wanting to visit this spring to go on wildflower expeditions. What do you think?

ANSWER:

Here is our 2007 Wildflower Forecast courtesy of the Wildflower Center's ecologist, Dr. Mark Simmons.

Heavy Rains Could Bring Impressive Wildflower Displays - Above average rainfall in Central Texas could mean good things for wildflower displays and the many wildflower enthusiasts that enjoy them each spring. “Wildflowers typically do well in El Nino years,” said Mark Simmons, ecologist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. El Nino events are defined as a major warming of the equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean, usually occurring every 3 to 7 years, and are characterized by shifts in “normal” weather patterns.

Wildflowers could be expected to start blooming in early March, since rainfall throughout the fall and winter months is a key factor in the healthy establishment of many early spring wildflowers. The icy weather this winter should not affect the spring displays because wildflowers are very resistant to cold and freezing conditions. However, with the increased wet conditions, bluebonnets can sometimes suffer from fungal infection. They typically thrive in well drained areas along slopes and in places like Marble Falls and Burnet, TX, where the soil has high granite content. The downside of the rainfall, Simmons said, is that invasive species also do well in these conditions and can push native wildflowers out. Invasive species are defined as non-native or alien to the local ecosystem and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm. Gardeners are encouraged to plant non-invasive plants in their own yard to prevent their spread into natural areas. They should use invasive-free seed mixes and weed-free soil and mulch mix. To learn more about preventing the spread of invasives and protecting native wildflowers and other native plants visit www.beplantwise.org.

Expect to see early spring bloomers such as: bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, winecups, Blackfoot daisy, Drummond phlox and giant spiderwort.

 

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