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Mr. Smarty Plants - Wildflowers after controlled burn in New Braunfels, TX

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Thursday - February 19, 2009

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Wildflowers after controlled burn in New Braunfels, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in the Hill Country a few miles north of New Braunfels. As soon as we get enough rain to lift our burn ban, I will be thinning out some of my Ashe juniper and will do some burning in the open meadows. I would like to plant wildflowers in these meadows in the winter of 2009 - 2010. Can I plant the wildflowers or do I need to wait longer after burning?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in an active participant in Fire Ecology. One of the things we have learned is that fire is a natural element in Nature, and that it is ordinarily beneficial. We have test areas at the Center, and have learned that within a month of a controlled burn, the native plants will be coming back. Assuming we ever have enough rain to permit a controlled burn, you should have no problems seeding the wildflowers in late Fall, usually the best time to do so in Central Texas.

We do want to caution you that "controlled" is a key word. Just because a burn ban has been lifted does not mean that a wildfire is safe. Have plenty of help to control the fire, and never even consider doing it if it is a windy day. You may still need a burn permit in your area, and we recommend that you contact local fire departments to determine the safety and legality of your plan.

 

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