Warm season grasses blooming in spring

texasranger2

I'm seeing warm season grasses bloom in May and I've never had this happen before. First a Muhlenbergia riverchonii sent up some blooms. Now they are all doing it. Stranger still, I've got about 5 Little Bluestem's blooming and that really surprised me, in fact I am amazed. Odder still, I went to the History Center yesterday to check out whats blooming out there and there was an Indian Grass that had sent up a bloom stalk, nice, fully developed and yellow. They usually bloom later than the Bluestem.

The Sideoats are only just now starting to put up blooms along with the Blue Grama but thats completely normal and right on schedule. One thing I like about these is how early they bloom making for a long season of impact.

We've had a mild winter and a long warm spring so far with little rain & the warm season grasses started greening up in March but thats not odd. I can't think of any reason other than temperatures causing this but they really aren't all that odd for Oklahoma, pretty typical in fact minus a killer frost or two we usually get after a warm February tricks everything into full growing season mode. People growing apricots this year will finally get one those rare crops that happen from time to time.

Has anyone else ever seen this happen?


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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I disagree/agree, it's a weird year. I have late summer bloomers that are blooming now too and saw them when I visited Oklahoma too.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I have fall asters , snake broom weed, and Ageratina havens blooming. they are all late fall bloomers. My Muhlenbergia lindheimerie and M. 'flamingo' never stopped blooming this winter. They were late to start and slowed down, but I saw that they were sending up some more flowers.

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texasranger2

Now that you mention it, Big Red Texas Sage has tall stems and is getting buds, its usually still a rosette (sort of) this time of year. That's also early, it usually blooms for me in mid to later summer.

So you guys think its a weird weather year? I don't even know whats normal anymore what with the droughts, flood last year etc etc. Its like I can't remember what its supposed to be like anymore. It was a mild winter, that I do know.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

If we had "normal" weather , now thAT would be highly abnormal. Our spring was colder than our winter.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Yeah, same here....cold spring...but not really frozen either.

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ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado

And here we are, my grasses FINALLY starting to grow! My little blue and switchgrasses are only a couple inches high yet, the blue grama is just now turning green!

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Our spring was very early this year. I haven't noticed any warm season
grasses extending stems yet, though. Based on various flowers and
pictures I took last year of them, I'd say we're about two weeks ahead
of 2015.

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texasranger2

The Bluestem was bad enough but I simply couldn't believe it when I saw the Indian Grass. All of them full height and one starting to bloom, its creepy.

Zach, what with all that welcome spring snow you all enjoyed......


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ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado

Enjoyed? I recall pouting vociferously! Much to the chagrin of everyone around me....

They might have had their thirst quenched, but the cold temperatures have kept all the warm season grasses sulking. We still get down to the 30's for nighttime lows, and this next week is mostly in the 60's for highs (my cabbage and broccoli are besides themselves with joy). Of course, summer isn't a whole lot warmer, lows above the 50's are rare indeed, not that I'm complaining, it's one of the GOOD things about our climate, that and NO HUMIDITY (which is one of the reasons why it cools down so nicely after then sun goes down).

I do have cool season grasses starting bloom, blue fescue has some well developed flower spikes on it. Not sure if that's normal or not, this is the first year it's had any at all lol.

The flowers seem to be pretty on schedule. And thanks to the cool temps, my spring bulbs have stayed looking good for nice long while and the pusatilla keeps blooming it's head off. Never seen such an extended show from it. Usually, it's winter until early May, and then we go from 40* and snow to 80* heat overnight. Having an actual "spring" is is exceptionally rare around here.

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texasranger2

Here's your reward for that snow......You did live here in Oklahoma at one time didn't you? I have a memory that you said you did. Mine's already looking parched out there in the dryer areas and things are wilting--native wildflower things, the plants are all full blown and some past blooming prime. We've run the air conditioner several times over the last month. I'm having to water some new plants I set in everyday trying to get them established. Some of the established grasses aren't growing much due to the dry soil, I ought to give them a drink for appearance purposes. I had to wet down an area Saturday just to be able to dig in the soil. If you don't watch new plants close, you loose them and I have some arriving this week to go into the area I wet down. I will not plant anything else until fall. For all practical purposes it is a lot more like summer than spring.

You remember those nights when the temperature stays in the 90's until early morning when it thankfully drops into the 80's? Thats when I put on the big lights and do my summer gardening at night but still sweat like crazy because the wind gets turned off here and the humidity is up.

wantanamara, I'm beginning to notice we didn't get the wet weather you guys got in spring, its been mostly above average temperatures & dry. We had some real excitement yesterday though. Of course here we didn't get more than some spatters of rain, just a few wet dots on the concrete that dried right up.

http://search.aol.com/aol/image?q=oklahoma+tornadoes&v_t=na

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ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado

Since I complain to loudly about the snow, I have decided I'm not allowed to complain about the heat, too. Though, being a a true native of the Mile High, my red blood cell count is way high and my tolerance for humidity is non existent. 10% is about the highest I can handle, beyond that and I start to, almost literally, melt. How you all in other parts of the country handle that is a miracle of modern science. We don't own an air conditioner, save for a little window unit. We have an attic fan that gets turned on at night though to suck all the cool air into the house. Evaporative coolers are popular here, too. But otherwise, it's RARELY too hot to go outside and most nights, simply opening the window and turning on a fan is sufficient. Sometimes I can break triple digits, but those spells are short lived.

No, I never lived in the Sooner State, the closest I ever got was south central Missouri (Ft. Leonard Wood for about 6 months). I have some extended family from Northern and eastern Oklahoma, so I have spent my fair share of time down there however and I was raised an OU fan, so there's that, haha.

We are anything but "parched" here...in fact we just got peppered with a nice round of hail while I was digging holes for some new switchgrass about 10 minutes ago. Yup, the snow is (hopefully/probably) done for the season, but now it's thunderstorms and hail. It wouldn't be so bad if it was nice shower, but well, you know how t-storms work. A deluge that washes everything away in about 2 minutes, buckshot from the sky added as a "promotional offer". Then it's done, the sun is back out now. The cells that come over the house are typically pretty small, once they get a little further east though, they grow. Dad lives out on Ft. Morgan, about 80 miles east of Denver, they get some real whoppers out there (had 15 tornadoes out in the part of the state on Sunday and a handful on Saturday).

I was thinking about you when I heard on the news about the tornadoes down that way, I'm glad they missed you. Those photographs are always heartbreaking to me.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Here's an interesting bit about El Niño and early blooming:

http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/news/2015/will-el-nino-cause-an-early-bud-break-this-spring

TR, I agree that your early blooming grasses are a result of the mild late winter you had. Here's some data from Will Rogers airport, this is the May monthly climate report:

[HDD (BASE 65)]

TOTAL FM JUL 1: 2785

DPTR FM NORMAL -565

So you had 565 fewer heating degree days this winter than normal. Feb/Mar/Apr all had less HDD days than usual, especially February. The average low in Feb was 35.6 degrees, up from the normal value of 32.8 and last year's value of 27.1.

http://w2.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=oun

Even then, it's still really surprising.

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texasranger2

Woods Tea, seems it has to be weather related. Sometimes when we have a drought and everything goes dormant in summer if we get a rain and cool spell the trees will start blooming as if its spring. Something is triggering this grass thing. The grasses greened up a little early (nothing drastic) but stayed dormant all winter.

Zach if you complain about the heat I will do an eyeball roll. My parents used to escape Oklahoma each summer to go camping & fishing in Colorado for 2 or 3 weeks. I'd get postcards telling from my mom and she'd always tell me the temperatures, you know the eat your heart out thing. That ain't summer. From my perspective, you guys aren't missing spring, you're missing summer.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Heh, by 2050, climatologists project that Green Bay, WI will have a climate more or less as Miami does today. Of course, we all know that republican politicians are the true experts in that field! Like the guy-I think he chairs the House Science Comittee-which is really too rich for words-from Oklahoma that brought a snowball into the chambers one day to mock and disprove the science behind global climate change.

Yes, I'm talking about the "leaders" of our nation. And also true-we keep electing these bozos.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

That thing about anti-science people on the science committee is one of the saddest stories of our times.

You are joking about Green Bay as Miami, right? I don't think it's going to be that quick. If it were I would be making much different gardening plans. Or moving plans.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

I might have mischaracterized the year, but no, this is an actual prediction! Maybe it was by century's end. And keep in mind, the further north one goes, the more extreme are the expected changes. Of course, I don't know for certain.

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texasranger2

I thought the grasses blooming was creepy, but thats really creepy.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

I heard something like this but it was just about summer max temperatures -- which is misleading, since Miami summer daytime highs are lower than inland areas at similar latitude due to the ocean. I think it's unlikely that winter lows in Green Bay would be similar to Miami any time this century.

What I expect in KC between now and 2050 is a trend toward extremes -- both drier and wetter years. Bigger storms, floods, blizzards in some years. I expect a noticeable trend toward milder winters before a similar trend in hotter summers. Basically Oklahoma but with more snow.

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texasranger2

We are getting a lot more ice storms. Too warm to snow but just at freezing either up there or on the ground. Once degree can mean the difference between rain and disaster. We have held our breath more than once and gotten pounded quite a bit loosing power for days and looking like a war zone. Tornados seem worse and like there's more of them. Drought. Drought. Drought.

Its so dry right now, its depressing.

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ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado

I imagine your parents were up in the high country doing their camping and fishing, TR. Here on the plains, it's a huge difference (considering that the elevation gain within just a few miles, even on seemingly "flat" ground can be dramatic). We regularly hit above 90* and although 100+ degrees is a little uncommon, it's definitely not "rare" by any stretch of the imagination. That's not to say our summers are anything like an Oklahoma summer. Like I said, I spent 6 months in Missouri starting in July...the bugs, the heat and humidity, we definitely are not in the same league. Last summer in fact, we had several days in June that were colder than some of our days in January.... Yup, our temperatures are all over the place.

Drought is a harsh reality of life in this part of the world. During especially dry periods in the regions relatively recent past, enormous sand dunes stood as the gatekeepers to the Rocky Mountains, including where Denver now stands (over time they would be blown eastward, which is where the Nebraska Sand Hill's region came from). In fact, the time since European settlement of the West, including the Dust Bowl of the 30's, has actually been the wettest in the regions history. In one of my books on prairie ecology, Island of Grass, the author tells us "[American's in the West] have mostly experienced favorable climatic conditions, we have not yet
seen the worst of what the plains can offer."

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Tom, the prediction you brought up reminds me of all the other failed predictions that have proven mistaken , i.e., no icecaps by 2013, 50 million climate refuges by 2010, refugees from the gulf states, Caribbean, China , India, Population is not down overall but increased big time. Snowless winters in Britain. Permanent Dustbowl in the plains . I like Michael Oppenheimer's (Gore's Head climatologist), " By 1996, he added, the Platte River of Nebraska “would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” The situation would get so bad that “Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.” NYC West Side Highway would be under water by 2008. Food riots in the US by 2010. And Climate change is bringing down the US sex drive. I am also old enough to remember the prediction that we would be in an ice age because of greenhouse gasses that was made in the 70's


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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Those sorts of giant disaster predictions get the big headlines, I think people enjoy the adrenaline or dopamine rush of it all. Meanwhile there are all sorts of small signs of change, and maybe your May-blooming Indian grass is one of them. Another is that the Arctic sea ice melt is way ahead of schedule this year. It beat the old extent record for May 13, for instance, by an area larger than the size of Texas and California combined.

Individually it's impossible to say that any one of these things are the result of climate change, since there's so much natural variation from year to year and place to place. It's the trend that matters.

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texasranger2

I pulled up that book 'Island of Grass' by Ellen Wohl and read the 'look inside' on Amazon. It would be nice to live across from an island like that but those housing developments are depressing. Right off the bat they gassed the prairie dogs.

I think the early blooming grasses is just one of those oddities you see from time to time, probably there's a simple explanation. Its not all of them, just several plants.

One spring I remember everything seemed off and there were lots of flies for that time of year. The oddest thing was they were pollinating my plants but I wasn't seeing any bees at all, just lots of flies (the housefly type) going from flower to flower as if flies had replaced the bees to do the job or the plants had turned into piles of dung. I tell you, it was creepy. Even the light looked weird that spring and I remember thinking how off the season seemed in several ways, besides my garden was in transition and it looked awful. It was the year of the big rip-out. Later in summer, everything seemed to settle into normal.

We are so dry leaves are falling off trees making a mess. We are supposed to have cooler weather and chances for rain nearly everyday next week. I hope so.

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ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado

We have an "island" like that here at the house, which is nice. Sure it sucks to see the housing developments around it, but, it's better than nothing. Even better, the county has finally decided to get a handle on the weeds. The cut down all the russian olive this winter and started spraying the mullein and thistle last summer. Sadly, the overspray got on the patch of prickly poppy that had popped up.

I work at a HUGE prairie island out on the NE side of Denver. Our west and north border are both 100% developed, with some small county open space on the south, but they are putting in a whole new tract of housing on that side too. On the east side is airport property, which, for now is not developed. We do have to manage our p-dog population, which does mean we cull them and remove them from some areas. I don't recall why, or if, the book mentions, the removal of the p-dogs, but here in Jefferson County they do TRY to leave them as best as possible.

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texasranger2

I read the first few pages, they gassed the colony. The same thing happened to a colony up by Ponca City, my sister lives in Wellington Ks and she used to slow her car down to see the dogs on her way to see our parents and she could hear them, they always sound like school children at recess, then suddenly one day the whole colony was gone and she couldn't believe it.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Oh, that colony up close to the lake is gone ?

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texasranger2

I'm not sure its the same colony. This one was off highway 177 going up from Ponca into north central Kansas (not the I 35 interstate). I never saw it myself because from OKC we always take the interstate but she said it was big. Which lake are you talking about?

By the way, there are miles and miles of liatris growing along the sides of the roads up there almost the minute you pass the 'Welcome to Kansas' sign along I 35. I've never seen so many growing so thickly for so many miles. There were also huge areas of solid yellow, whole fields of all the same plants but I didn't get close enough to see what those were. It was similar to when we were driving up to Lowell, Arkansas a couple years ago and saw miles and miles of red---millions of Indian Paintbrush. I'd never seen so many of those either.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I was speaking of a colony on the north end (as I recall) of Lake Ponca, so no, you meant a different one (since 177 is over west).

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

That is so sad.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

TR, did you get some rain finally?

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texasranger2

The Muhlenbergia 'Flamingo' is blooming pink-- about 6 bloom stalks, the huge Gulf Muhly I didn't dig out has 4 pink bloom stalks. More Bluestem's are sending up bloom stalks and Autumn Sedum is forming buds....

Yea Woods Tea, we did. I just came in from weeding. There are chances for rain just about every day this week into the weekend and its real cool out.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I think it was the very warm weather this late winter followed by a long cool spring. that has sent these grasses, asters, and snake broom weed bloom crazy. I just saw some sun for the first time all week. More rain tonight and every day this week. We are SOGGY. It can't decide if it is doing sticky muggy and then it goes into sweater/socks weather.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Big high pressure blocking everything to our south-and keeping it over your guy's heads. Hate when that happens-we could use the rain!

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

This morning it is definitely sweater and sock weather and still shivering. Texans are wimps when it comes to cold, especially summer cold. I bet my husband will turn on the heat this morning.

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texasranger2

One thing we can count on is hot, sticky, muggy when this stuff moves out. Like I keep saying, I dread June. I don't mind July and August so much, mostly its just hot, the worst part is when the nights stay in the upper 80's & 90's but I love those 70 degree nights before that sets in.

Its good weather for moving some volunteer plants & I'm taking advantage of this little window of rain and cool cloudy days that we haven't seen much of this spring, I can finally dig or move plants without watering. I'm at a crossroads of dealing with areas I over planted with the intent of later thinning out what I don't want to keep and keeping what I do want to keep. Decisions decisions.... but this seemed to be the best, least visually intrusive way to gradually transform a gravel perennials/desert/xeric garden into more of a prairie landscape with gravel paths and move more heavily into swaths of prairie grasses. When it really gets hot and dry I'm counting on the grasses to still look good without much watering so I won't be going out and seeing plants that look like they are pouting due to lack of water. Its a sort of different kind of xeric than desert xeric. Prairie Xeric. There ya go, I named it.


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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Isn't that almost the definition of shortgrass prairie ?:)

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texasranger2

Yea but I got some bigger stuff like Panicum, Big Blue, a type of really tall Little BS and Indian grass along with some big Texas grasses, lantanas, salvias and Flame Acanthus so it doesn't look like a short grass prairie at all.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am waiting for dap to dry. Usually almost a few minutes. Yesterday it took 2 hours! It was just at th beginning of hot sticky yesterday for about 1 hour because we had sunshine. then it went back to cool and then cold. I hear there will be quite the flip in store for the east coast . Ours flip will be less out of the norm , but our norm is an extreme flip anyway. We will be above normal soon enough. East coast and north are supposedly due a hot summer, or so I hear. God , I can go on about the weather and fire ants. We have a new ant just to the south of me, the CRAZY ANTS because they run erratically in all directions. oops, I am getting off topic again.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

My Muhlenbergia emersleyi is sending some new bloom stalks out. Not very enthusiastically, but they are there.I just saw some blooms on the small snake room weed that you, TxR sent me from the Mexican Church. I am still wearing sweaters and socks, but the sun is coming out after another 3" of rain.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I just saw some Blue Bonnets sprouting. They usually sprout in November.

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texasranger2

Creepy and creepier.

I'm calling this the Twilight Zone year. Here's a another happening....

Several of the Yucca flower stems I've seen around OKC have fallen over. There they were, nice buds getting ready to put on the annual show of white and overnight they all seem to have gone flaccid. I saw one huge trunked specimen with about 10 bloom stalks hanging down from high up on the clump, flowers just opening, it was not attractive at all. Not broke, stems just drooped over at the base ---but otherwise looking firm & green --except completely upside down. I cut mine off because it just looked stupid laying prostrate in the gravel path and I saw several others when driving to the dentist. Keep in mind, we've been dry so we can't blame too much water.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Did you look for bugs. I am having a bug encounter with a bad dude in my house. My husband thinks that I have gone buggy.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Maybe not related, or maybe so....I've noticed that everything I have that's pretty tall is very floppy this year...and every wind blast pre-storm is laying things over badly (a new victim or two each storm). I'm really tempted to get out and shear my weeds (coreopsis grandiflora) and let them resprout...the clumps have fallen all over...and look most unattractive laying on the ground (despite just coming into bloom). Of course that's not all...but those really did it ;)

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texasranger2

Barron, I came to the exact same conclusion. Bloom stalk #2 on the curl-leaf yucca is laying on the ground today, I watched it blowing back and forth like crazy last night getting lower and lower and knew it was a goner. These stalks were taller than I've ever seen them get. The coppermallow has lost several stems -- broken right at ground level on the joints to the main stem but the plant has so many it still makes a statement although a less symmetrical one. I did some trimming on a leaning Caesalpinia gilliesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise) because its so bowed over. The top is encrusted with blooms and the stems can't hold the weight. I think I will trim it back about 1/3 after its done blooming.

I only have one coreopsis grandiflora which is way past bloom prime but it is upright and looks normal, however, the lance leaf coreopsis are pretty tall and leggy. Those probably get too much shade under that pin oak next door, late afternoon to evening sun only, but its one of the few plants that will bloom in shade. I snapped off several plants the other day because they were growing over and leaning into stuff.

Its a strange year. I have a Texas Red Sage plant that's so dried out the bottom leaves are all dead and its about to bloom early. Other stuff is dry too but the rain we've gotten in the last several days has helped.


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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

My coreopsis lanciolata is lanky too. Maybe their growth started a month earlier and in that month their growth had started in a period where the sun was still lower and not reaching them. I am also having lanky tip growth on my cedars that I noticed and took a picture of yesterday. The sun has barely been out here. We have been under dark clouds A LOT.


My Yucca rupicola is leaning as the blossoms open and get heavier. I was noticing leaning flowers on some that are in dead sun. Maybe they are etiolated.



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texasranger2

I just came in from cutting off the blown over stalk. So sad, no blooms this year, I might as well have some of wantanamara's deer up here chomping away to hearts content-- same diff. It got me to thinking though. When I grow plants from other areas and I have several, specifically the SW where its more desert, I'm so busy concerning myself with moisture and cold hardiness that I completely forget to take into account the wind. Plants on the plains need exceptionally strong stems that will blow. Jointed stems or brittle ones can be a real problem. I got a variety of globemallow from a wild plant in NM. It spreads by underground stems, has very small orange flowers and blue leaves and it only gets a couple feet tall, very airy. It looks like a cute mini version of S. angustifolia lobata. I like airy stuff like this blending in and growing among the prairie grasses. Plants that are thicker and more 'decorative' like bedding plants break up the look in a way that doesn't look right. thats why I like the narrow leaf coneflowers or the E. angustifolia as opposed to the more popular commonly sold ones like E. purpura but the cultivars bred for compact growth and short stemmed flowers look out of place & jarring.

Actually I love wind even though we all gripe about it here and suffer the damage. Its getting close to June when it shuts off for a couple months and then a month or more of the Dog Days and I'm not looking forward to that AT ALL. Its always nice when it returns in fall.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

TR, when would you say Salvia azurea blooms? Mine will be opening in a few days....it's normally mid summer, isn't it ? Well I guess that's just a month and some change away...but still, seems weird, and the plants aren't but about 2 foot high, due to only emerging what ? four weeks ago ?

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texasranger2

Oh boy...Arkansas is weird too. Azure has always bloomed for me in October and seems like one of the latest plants to bloom. Typically I cut it back back by about 1/2 in Mid May or around there to make it more compact and shorter, even so, it would get about as tall as me if you held the stems up straight that is. They sort of wound around in all directions and it took up major amount of space although airy. I moved mine up to the strip in leaner soil in early spring and its still only about 6 or 8" tall. They move real easy by the way. I found that one on that private dirt road in Southern Kansas on that plant expedition I took with my sister that year when we got the Liatris, Asters and a rooted section of a large colony of Leadplant. The azure sage plants were all small but got huge in the spot I planted it in here originally, an area with improved soil that used to be a conventional perennials bed. My liatris have tall stems and look suspiciously like they are going to start setting buds but maybe I'm just on high alert.

The 'Heavy Metal' panicums are blooming but the height is normal. I divided the P. 'Northwind's so they are a lot shorter and behind where they normally are in height by this time. Its a bit early for them typically they bloom mid summer, mid to late June I think.

Here's pictures of Azure Sage in 2014, you can just see part of it planted by the three 'Northwind' switchgrass. I'd trimmed it in May to make it thicker and shorter.

Azure Sage was planted just to the left of the switchgrass looking fairly neat after a trim in May. Photo shot in June

Here it is in July, you can see it peeking around the switchgrass (press the photo to enlarge so you can see it).

October when it finally blooms and its really wild by this time even with a couple trim jobs

I'm hoping its not so fast growing down on the strip. I'll let you know. Along the Kansas roadside the plants were small and pretty insignificant, you'd never notice them from the car window and I was surprised to find them when we got out of the car. It was October and they were single stem plants with blooms.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

The largest (natural) plants of s azurea were near Stromsburg, NE. The plants were probably tetraploid monsters, they were quite tall and the blooms where 2-3 times larger than what I normally saw. I'm sad I didn't collect, but I was going out on a plane...etc.

Yes, my liatris are headed toward bloom, and will probably be about a month early too.

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texasranger2

The blooms on the Kansas ones are large too, I think you will be happy with it---good color on the blue, a pretty clear sky blue & lots of blooms. I had lots of volunteer seedlings around the plant in spite of the fact I'd cut it back before it dried up and I'd saved quite a few seeds off the first year. The soil obviously determines the size of the plants. The currently short clump I moved down to the strip a couple months ago is about 1ft in diameter & 8" tall, I went out and looked yesterday after reading your post.

There is a fantastic specimen at the end of the long planting area at the History Center, its planted as an isolated specimen with nothing around it for about 5 ft in any direction and it was standing tall in bloom. Mine grew rather wild & twisty when it was planted in the richer garden soil, I'm hoping for a straighter plant in the 'dirt' & sand down by the street, after seeing theirs last fall, I decided to move mine.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Seems like things are returning to normal around here after an early spring. The flowers most recently coming into bloom are pretty much in line with last year's dates.

Lots of rain around here lately, which has been really helpful with all the planting I did this year. Most things are standing up pretty well, except things like the Coreopsis lanceolata, but that's not too surprising. I've had to stake the one snaky Liatris punctata that's managed to survive here, and a couple of Culver's root plants whose stems were beaten down by a storm.

My hell strip planting always leans toward the south, like it's on a north- bound train moving fast. I suppose some of that could be sun-related, but I suspect it's more about predominant winds, which get funneled down the north-south street next to it. You really notice the lean after storms. It makes me appreciate the things like the Cheyenne Sky switchgrass that don't seem to be affected by it and continue to stand up straight.

I have some seed-grown Salvia azurea on the south side of the house, under the eaves where it's drier. Bumblebees love it. My plan is to have enough stuff in front of it so that I don't have to bother cutting it back in May/June, but I haven't gotten to that point yet. It works pretty well I think in a fairly dense planting, especially with grasses like the bluestems that stay low early on and allow the sun to reach the Salvia. I imagine it would be nice with late-blooming sunflowers of some type.

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texasranger2

I found if I trim back the unruly liatris, it puts out shorter stems that bloom on schedule. Its good for treating snakes. I've got one really snakin' around and it gets clipped today. I moved another snaker out to some really hard dry dirt on the high end of the strip and he quit snaking. The annual 'liatris beetles' have made their appearance. They eat the tops of the stems and make candelabras out of the half gnawed on stems. I do a daily beetle smash because it really irritates me to see those chomped stems that looks spiteful the way they just weaken stems like that making the top 1/3 die.

I don't much care for coreopsis lanceolata except I did see it coming up in a gravel parking lot where it was hot and dry and it formed a nice low thick ground cover with short stiff plants, otherwise I think its ratty looking. I use it for filler until other stuff gets going. I just got through pulling up plants, I always end up doing that.

I'll let you know how that Azure sage does on the dry strip in full sun morning to evening. Its close to the street side rather than the sidewalk side. Before it was in a morning shade situation with sun in the afternoon and then late afternoon shade.

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texasranger2

Latest weirdo blooming report. The Ironweed is tall with buds on top.......Twilight Zone music....

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

We are behind you with the ironweed.

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texasranger2

Did I mention that the Rabbit Bush is budded out and some are opening??????? September bloomer for 12 years now.

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

June is the new autumn, didn't you know ? :) (teasing)

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

TR, I'm with you about Coreopsis lanceolata. I picked some up at the spring sales as a filler, since I had ripped out a bunch of prairie dropseed this year and added a number of things (leadplant and ironweed in particular) that will take a few years to come up to size. Even when those things get bigger I may leave it -- it's nice to have something bright at this time of year before the butterflyweed blooms.

We broke a daily precipitation record yesterday with 3.87 inches. That's the second one over 3.5" this year. More on the way later today.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

We had 3" of rain yesterday. friends in Bastrop , east of Austin got 10" last night. Foggy now. possible more rain. I left my husband van door open so I am in the dog house this morning. BUT I got it moved to the high point before the field turned to mud and locked us in.

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texasranger2

barron, I'm starting to wonder if I will have any fall blooms to anticipate, everything will have done its thing in spring unless they bloom twice.

Lots of those Coreopsis break off at the ground because its so hard so I just leave some roots, next year they come back. I have them planted in rock hard dirt among big roots under that pin oak next door by our driveway and I will say this for them, they bloom in shade and don't look real straggly and they add some bright color, then they look ugly. Its a good plant for difficult areas. Otherwise its all planted in Euphorbia rigida & sedum as ground covers, two other plants that don't seem to care what they are growing in.

OK, you guys, quit hogging the rain, I had to hand water in my baby SRG grasses with the hose AGAIN this week. We got cool and very windy yesterday, at night we heard some thunder in the distance and then the wind stopped and all was quiet and very still. We have chances of this for several days but seems this is how it usually turns out.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I heard of 16" in Brenham (where they make Bluebell Ice cream)

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