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GRAPEVINE (KRLD) – For many North Texans, spring isn’t here until wildflowers begin to pop up along the highways.
Already areas like Highway 114 near Grapevine and Highway 360 in Fort Worth are seeing their first bluebonnets. Ennis, known as North Texas’s bluebonnet capital, is starting to see a few as well.
But here in North Texas, the state flower isn’t seen quite as often as it is in central Texas and the Hill Country. Horticulturalist Laura Miller with Tarrant County’s Texas A&M Agri-Life says there could be a reason for that.
“There just aren’t as many bluebonnets planted in North Texas,” she says. “But wherever in the state they do get planted, they always come up beautifully.”
Bluebonnet growth depends on the weather. Wetter and warmer conditions are the most ideal.
“We’ve certainly had a wet fall this last year,” Miller says. “Bluebonnets germinate in the fall, so that’s a crucial time for them. They need that fall moisture to bloom in the spring.”
As wildflowers grow along the highways it falls to TXDOT to keep the areas beautiful.
“We mow around the flowers and encourage people not to pick them,” says Val Lopez with TXDOT’s Tarrant County district.
But if you’ve ever heard that it’s illegal to pick bluebonnets that grow alongside the highway, it turns out that’s just an old wives tale.
“It’s technically not illegal to pick bluebonnets,” says Miller. “But of course it’s better if you can leave them be so they can set seed and come back next year.”
If you are looking to get some pictures of wildflowers along the highway, TXDOT does recommend not pulling over along the interstates. They say farm-to-market roads are less crowded with less potential for traffic hazards.
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