ADS Executive Director

Fire and Daffodils

November 4, 2019

Categories: American Daffodil Society, General

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Good morning
In light of all the California fires in recent years and a recent back cover of a Journal with an emerging Daffodil I thought this would generate some interesting advice for Robert Staten. Please note he has an Army email address so your responses could help with planning prescribed burns. Prescribed burns while controversial do imitate natural growing conditions for a healthy environmental biosphere.

From: Shea Staten
Subject: Prescribed Fire and Daffodils

Message Body:

For the past 3 years I have been planting Daffodil bulbs where I work. There are a couple of areas with nice hillsides where I would like to add some Daffodils to the terrain. However, my coworkers try to perform a controlled burn at this particular area. How do Daffodils respond to fire? The burn usually occurs in late winter or early spring once the bulbs have just started protruding from the ground an inch or two. I managed to talk them out of burning the area last year, but I don’t think I will always be able to manage. The area doesn’t even need fire because it is an area that gets mowed for turf grasses.

4 Responses to Fire and Daffodils

  1. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    November 4, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Glad to hear you’ve been planting daffodils!  I don’t think fire will hurt the daffodil bulbs IF, and that’s a big IF, you can get them to do the burn before the daffodils start to grow.  Some years ago, a friend was burned out in the San Bernardino area.  She had planted thousands of daffodil bulbs, and as far as I know they all bloomed the following spring.   One of our prominent growers used to let weeds cover his daffodil beds as a “green mulch” which he then burned off in late winter.  So if you can control when they burn, I think your bulbs will be fine.

  2. Harold Koopowitz, California
    Harold Koopowitz, California
    November 4, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Rosewarne did research on fire and I think they found that it advanced the timing of the bloom season.


  3. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    November 5, 2019 at 5:06 am

    Mary Lou is right. The lure of daffodils has it that for the millennial daffodils only received the ashes from fires as a fertilizer. Ashes are potassium, and daffodil love it.


  4. Ian Tyler, England
    Ian Tyler, England
    November 5, 2019 at 5:27 am

    If I remember correctly wild fires on general land not peat, pass so
    quickly over ground that little damage is done underground below a few
    inches. So daffodils underground will most likely survive, the heat that
    passes over them does indeed give a spert in growth, but any growth nearer
    or showing above ground level would suffer in the normal way.