Daffodils and fire

June 6, 2008

Categories: Daffodil Types, Hybridizing, Miniatures, Seeds, Species

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In a message dated 6/6/2008 9:29:01 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  title= writes:

Anyway Daffodils won’t survive in a closed canopy, deep dark forest. They
won’t survive in a Tall Grass Prairie due to shading or the late
spring/early summer hot grass fires would kill them back as these fires
normally occur every 3-5 years. (Shaw Nature preserve in St. Louis for
example where they are converting the property to tall native grasses and
burning the grounds regularly is leaving spindly daffodil foliage and no
blooms.) SO I am assuming daffodils co-existed in areas with natural short
grass prairie type habitat or possibly with certain species of native
grazing animals. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

I’m not sure I can agree with your comments about daffodils and fire.  We have returned to the same site in Spain several times looking for n lucitanicus also called triandrus concolor.  It is a miniature-sized deep golden yellow triandrus.  The first year the hillside was totally covered with bloom.  There had been a recent fire and we were covered with ash from the black branches all over the ground.  Three years ago we returned and found little bloom.  The shrub had all grown up and was very thick, shading the area where the species had been.  Luckily we passed another site where their had been a recent fire and the hillside was again totally covered with the little beauties.  It is my guess that the seeds of some of these species remain dormant for years waiting for a little ash and sunlight to bring them to life once again. We have noticed similar patterns with triandrus triandrus.

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4 responses to “Daffodils and fire”

  1. Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi Loyce McKenzie says:
    Let me add just a little bit.  Phil Phillips, who visited our convention several times, used to recommend burning over daffodil beds, and I know he particularly recommended it to make triandrus do well.
    I wonder if the time of burning matters.
    Delia Bankhead probably remembers more about this than I do.
    Loyce McKenzie


  2. Chriss Rainey says:

    Keith suggests in the Tall Grass Prairie — in late spring/early summer when the daffodil leaves are still up and green.  Fire at that time would have destroyed the foliage and prevented the bulbs from replenishing energy.
    Where you traveled, the fire may have occurred when foliage was not present. 

  3. Jason Delaney, Missouri Jason Delaney says:

    Kathy and Steve:


    I need to chime in and say that the daffs at the Shaw Nature Reserve cope just fine over the long term; granted they don’t appreciate the fire whilst flowering and when these events occur in tandem the daffodils are burnt to a crisp.  However, after a year or two they bounce back with the same—if not increased—vigor.  Less competition and a minute amount of potash seems to carry them through.




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  4. Ian Tyler says:

     Dear All,
      I’m not sure if many of you will remember the storey I heard a few years back at the Daffodil Society AGM, about the Daffodil Growers of the Isles of Scilly. I think it was Andrew Tomset who was the speaker.
    Where it had been the tradition for many years to burn the foliage of the Tazetta daffodils at the end of every season.
    The thinking being that the burning replenished the Pot Ash in the soil so increasing  the number of florets on each stem!
    A few years ago a group of students for a mainland university turned up and did some tests.
    The results were that burning the foliage did little or nothing to the flowers but it may have keep the bulbs hard, but I don’t have that information!
    Anyway what they did find out was that it is the smoke the effects the florets, and if I remember correctly it increased the average number of florets per stem from 16-18 to 21-24.
    So now instead of burning they cover each field with plastic and blow smoke underneath from a machine.
    I’m hoping I have got this right, if not I’m sure some of my cornish friends will soon let us all know!
    But an interesting tale!
    Best wishes to all,