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4/1/2015 1:54 PM
 

2015 Wildflower Season Update

NOTE: This all just my humble opinion. I am not fortune teller.  However, I have been hunting and photographing Texas wildflowers since 1999 and have had some success in finding them. :)

South and East of San Antonio: By far the current leader and champion of blooms has to be the areas south and east of San Antonio. Reports and photos of sandyland bluebonnet, paintbrush and mixed wildflower fields keep coming in (See new report: South of Somerset).  That area is still running above normal rainfall and just got some rain today.  So in locations where the topography and soil is the best, the show should continue through 4/10.  Some of the bluebonnet fields and phlox might be fading, but paintbrush and other wildflowers will likely still be at their best.  I have begun to see emergence of more verbena in my area and on my last trip to Somerset.  Since the areas east of I-37 and south of I-10 were late in starting it might be good to check out those areas this Easter weekend. 

Hill Country and South of Austin:  Based on what I saw I think the edges of fields along the better stretches of roadside are beginning to fill in right now and will continue through this weekend.  Entire fields might not show up until 4/9-4/15, but then again I might be surprised about that.  I am a bit concerned that the temperatures have warmed up to above normal and while the 14 departure from normal rainfall is still running at or above normal the Hill Country is missing out on the recent rain events.  We need for this next rain system to bring at least ½ to an inch of rain to the area. Muleshoe Bend and other areas south of Austin should reach full bloom by the end of next week, possibly are early as this Easter weekend to the 9th.

Brenham:  Brenham is still running a bit behind their usual schedule. The concern here as Murry has pointed out is will the grass overtake most of the blooms. We did just get a report with a photo of a bluebonnet/paintbrush field along Phillipsburg Church Road.  The bluebonnet blooms look mature and at full bloom.  So that field might have gotten more sun than others. Not all fields will reach full bloom at the same time. 

Ennis and North Texas: Reports from the Ennis Visitor Center indicate that the roadsides like Sugar Ridge RD are beginning to bloom.  Also received reports of blooms in progress northwest of Waco in the Stephenville area which is very exciting news, especially if this trend extends to Glen Rose, Hico, and Meridian. These are the “northern” Hill Country regions by geological formations.  You will find some very nice expanses and hills in that area.  Overall, I do not see anything to suggest that Ennis is not on schedule for full bloom in fields by 4/11-18th.  Still uncertain if their season will be above average, but based on what I saw in rosettes there should be some nice spots. Ennis has a way of surprising you, especially in seasons where you do not expect much to develop. Case in point was 2012 when Mach RD became an overnight celebrity.

Rainfall Analysis: The year to date shows all of Texas at or above normal rainfall.  The 90 departure from normal rainfall as of March 31st, shows only Kerr and Gillespie running about 1 inch below normal.  However, what is driving this number down is the February rainfall which was significantly below normal for all of the Hill Country.  The March rainfall ran above normal for all areas in South Texas.  The big question is how much of an impact did the below normal rainfall in February have on the plant development in the Hill Country? On my scouting trip this past Sunday (3/29/2015), I saw plenty of evidence that at least a few spots will do well along both roadside and fields.

 90 Departure from normal rainfall as of 3/31/2015
90 Departure from normal rainfall as of 3/31/2015 - Areas in yellow are 1" below normal for the period.

 
February 2015 Departure from normal rainfall.  All areas in South Texas were at least .5" below normal rainfall.
I think this plus below normal temperatures in February through Mid-March is the main culprit in throwing off start times for the season.

March 2015 Departure from normal rainfall
March 2015 Departure from normal rainfall. Areas in yellow are 1/2" below normal. Notice the areas south and east of San Antonio are way above normal rainfall.
Probably only the locations with well draining topography and sandy type soils are doing well. 

See also: Is the 2015 Wildflower Season Like 2010?

 
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4/2/2015 5:49 AM
 

Rich,

Thanks for posting your thoughts on how the season is progressing and when peaks might be.  I was hoping to get back to the S and SW of San Antonio this weekend as the Stockdale area does not sound like it is doing as well as last year.  But it looks like we are getting some needed rain, so will have to reconsider plans.

Thanks,

Bill

 
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