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Mr. Smarty Plants - When is the best time to plant or seed after a wildfire?

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Wednesday - April 29, 2009

From: Possum Kingdom Lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding
Title: When is the best time to plant or seed after a wildfire?
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

This past week our 1 acre lake property at Possum Kingdom Lake in north Texas was scorched by a wildfire. No brush, grass or bushes remain, and we're hoping not to lose all the cedar and mesquite trees. We would like to take the opportunity to plant some drought resistant native grasses and plants that require little water. Is there a recommended method and/or timing to planting or seeding after a complete burn? The fire was very hot (it burned 4 neighbors' houses to the ground) and except for the black trees our acreage is as bare as the moon. Thanks for the response from a UT alumn!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants spoke with one of our restoration ecologists here at the Wildflower Center and he said that the best time to plant or seed native plants after a wildfire is right now - while we are getting spring rains.  As the rains decrease and the heat increases, anything you plant will have a harder time becoming established and making it through the summer without regular watering.  If you can't plant right  now, you can wait until Fall (generally, the best time to plant and seed in Texas).  By then, you may find that some native plants have taken their natural place without any help from you.  Our advice is to plant and seed what you can as soon as possible and then again in the Fall.  Take a look at our Recommended Species page for plants that are native to North Central Texas.  You can narrow your search by choosing the type of plant you are looking for (grass, shrub, tree, herb), growing conditions (moisture level and amount of sun), duration and even bloom characteristics.

 

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