Wednesday, July 15, 2015

An Experiment in Dehydration

 In earlier posts I have often shared my observations of plants that seem to respond to lawnmowers by blooming at earlier stages, or when they are shorter, as if to avoid the next mowing.  This seems related to the adaptation of prairie grasses to grazing by large hoofed animals.  What seems like a roughly analogous situation is occurring on what was my front lawn but is now a brown patch of former lawn.  The flowering weeds I like to follow are blooming while much shorter than they do when we have plentiful water.  For instance, the patch of daisies in the above photo is around 5" tall.
 In another part of the "lawn" are a couple of Salsify blooming at a height of 6".  They normally grow to at least 3' before blooming.  In fact a couple of them on the shady side of my garage got to 4' tall before blooming.
Dandelions, which invade lawns everywhere, are the main ones I've seen on the FRC lawns blooming at 2-3" and carrying out their entire life cycles below the lawnmower blades.  The above specimens are growing in a shady section of my yard and are about 18" tall.  In the shady forest adjacent to the FRC lawns I've seen them exceed 2' in height before blooming.
If this drought continues, I wonder if people will develop special kidneys like the kangaroo rats in deserts who never need to drink. 

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