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Thursday - January 27, 2011

From: Portland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Are Texas wildflowers dying out from Portland, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am doing a school project on whether or not wildflowers are dying out in the state of Texas or not. I need to find a specialist who specializes on this subject. Could you help me??? Please contact me ASAP!!!

ANSWER:

We don't usually do things "ASAP" very well; our website says we attempt to answer questions within 3 to 4 weeks. However, since this is for a school project, we want to see if we can point you in the right direction to get some answers.

To begin with, there are fewer places where wildflowers can grow in Texas every year. This is due to habitat change, to development and urbanization, and sometimes to non-native invasive plants crowding out the area where the wildflowers originally grew. They are not "dying out" as from some insect or disease, they are being crowded out. But, trust us, they will be around for a long time if people just learn not to abuse them, and leave places where they can grow.

From the Dallas Morning News: Just as beautiful for less money, less work. This article has several good ideas on ways to encourage wildflowers to grow. In our How-To Articles, we have an article on Alternative to Collecting Wildflowers.

The advantage to wildflowers is that they are native to where they are being grown. They have already adapted through millions of years to growing in the soil, climate, rainfall and environment where we find them today. The wildflowers that grow in Texas will not necessarily grow in Wisconsin. In fact, the most popular Texas wildflower, Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is endemic to Texas; that is, it does not grow naturally anywhere else. The insects, especially the pollinators, that visit these wildflowers do not hurt them, actually they are welcome and essential in propagating that plant.

How can we help to keep them from dying out?

1.  Plant them, but don't plant them just anywhere, plant them where they belong.

2.  Try to get rid of the invasive plants that crowd out and shade the lower-growing wildflowers, but not with herbicides-these will kill the wildflowers, too!

3.  Help others understand how important natives are in their gardens, and on the roadsides. One more How-To Article: Be Plantwise.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

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Time for planting wildflower seeds in East Texas
August 06, 2007 - I live in northeast Texas, and we have had abundant rains here. Can I plant some wildflower seeds now, and if so, what plants would be appropriate?
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Digging wild buttercup from roadside in Mechanicsville MD
May 28, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, is it illegal to dig out wild buttercup in Maryland? I see them along the dirt road or just in the ditch. Since buttercup considered weed, I'm wondering what the law say about this...
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October 05, 2009 - Can you provide a list of plants for use on slopes in S. Texas?
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Native wildflowers for Missouri
September 06, 2006 - I live in the midwest, Wright City, Missouri. I have good dirt, not clay or sand. I love wildflowers. What kind of wildflowers can I grow here successfully?
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