Will Daisy Mountain Bloom this year? Spring is in almost the air and we are all thinking about Anthem Arizona Weather, right?
Well, maybe not, but one of the burning questions in the minds and mouths of us Anthemites is all about Anthem’s weather…Will Daisy Mountain Bloom this year?
If this is your first time here, welcome! My name is Carolynn, I‘m a proud Anthem resident and proud to be a part of the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group AND your local REALTOR® .
If you live in Anthem, you totally get the annual debate about whether or not Daisy Mountain will bloom in the spring. If you don’t live in Anthem you’re missing a rare phenomenon, a spectacular show of yellow that is as much loved and enjoyed when it happens as it is sorely missed when it doesn’t.
We at the Wise Move AZ Team have a curious and inquisitive nature, we love to answer questions, solve mysteries and dig into the unknown. The blooming of Daisy Mountain and what it takes to make that happen is not something that is readily answered by simply googling it, so, we decided to dig in and try to figure it out.
In unravelling the mystery, we needed the answer to some important questions:
#1: What’s the source of the beautiful yellow color?
Having spent countless hours hiking Daisy Mountain, we have intimate knowledge of the cacti and shrubbery that lingers and survives there. The most prolific vegetation is a shrub known by its common name Brittlebush. Its scientific name is encelia farinosa. Ouch! We will stick with brittlebush. The brittlebush flower is a small yellow daisy. How can we NOT conclude that this is precisely where the name “Daisy Mountain” comes from? We can only speculate that long before Anthem existed witnesses to this wonderful “blooming event” chose to honor it by naming the mountain Daisy.
#2: What is Brittlebush?
Brittlebush is a small deciduous shrub that can grow as tall as 5 feet and is common in the Sonoran Desert. Its leaves are up to 4” long, they have serrated edges and are covered in what appears to be short hair. The “hairs” protect the Brittlebush from extremely hot summer and near freezing winter temperatures. The hairs also help to trap moisture and slow the evaporation process which preserves precious water for the plant.
Brittlebush is a perennial that normally blooms from March to May, however, can be showy throughout the year with even a small amount of rain. When brittlebush goes without water for too long, the blooms die, the leaves fall off and what you are left with is a tangle of extremely brittle branches. Thus, the name, brittlebush. With a shallow taproot and multiple lateral roots, this plant lays in wait for the next rainfall.
#3 Why doesn’t Daisy Mountain Bloom Every Spring?
What we are looking for here is akin to a “Super Bloom” like the famous California super bloom that happened in 2019. It was hard to miss the thousands of photos that circulated all over the internet and in our email folders, it even made the national news? The super bloom even warranted a bunch of satellite photos to emphasize the enormity of it all. Yes, that is exactly what we are looking for, a Daisy Mountain Super Bloom!
Since 2007 there have been two Daisy Mountain Super Blooms. The first was in 2010 and the second in 2017.
Important Factors to Consider
Can I just say: it doesn’t take a rocket scientist, a genius or even a horticulturist to know that plants need sunshine, water, nutrients and the right temperature at the right time to thrive. Thankfully the basic formula is pretty simple. That said, we jumped into an examination of each of these factors as they impacted or may have impacted Daisy Mountain:
Sunshine is never hard to come by in the Arizona desert and Daisy Mountain is no exception. A look at the historic days of sunshine vs. rain and cloud cover for the days, weeks and even months leading up to the 2010 and 2017 Super Bloom were very comparable to the years when the mountain did not bloom. We quickly eliminated lack of sunshine as a determining factor.
Scarcity of water is legendary here in the desert and, as it turns out, it was an interesting subject to jump into. The weather services do not keep rainfall records specifically for Anthem. So to make our research possible we relied heavily on a good family friend who has been tracking rainfall in Anthem since 2007.
Focusing on rainfall leading up to the Super Blooms of 2010 and of 2017 here is what we found:
- the total rainfall in Anthem in January and February 2010 was 7.45”,
- in 2017 the total January/February rainfall was 5.6”.
- The average rainfall in Anthem in January/February is 2.82”
The difference was too big to ignore…right? Eureka! Did we find the answer? Is it this simple? Instead of “April Showers Bring May Flowers” we in Anthem can sing “January and February Showers bring March and April flowers? Yah, okay it is a bit awkward I get it.
It turns out the answer is not that simple. We can’t ignore the fact that in the first two months of 2019 we had a total of 6.05” of rain, more rain than in either 2010 or 2017, but Daisy Mountain did not grace us with a super bloom. Why?
We think the answer to this may lie in the fact that in 2017, despite a wet start that resulted in a stunning Super Bloom, the remainder of the year was the driest is has been over a period of 13 years. The total rainfall in 2017 was 6.65’ as compared to an average rainfall of 10.78”. More importantly, 5.60 of those inches fell in January and February, which means that for the remainder of 2017 Anthem saw a total of only 1.05” of rain. We speculate that during the drought conditions that existed on Daisy Mountain, the brittlebush suffered terribly and much of it died off. By 2019 the brittlebush had not recovered sufficiently to make a Super Bloom show of it following an abundance of rain in early 2019.
So it turns out that nobody is monitoring the nutrients in the soil on Daisy Mountain or, if they are, they are not sharing the information with the public. Go figure!
There are many factors that affect nutrients in the soil, but in the absence of any catastrophic events (fire, flooding, prolonged drought and so on), and there have been no real catastrophic events on Daisy Mountain in 13 years. There is no reason to believe that the nutrient content of the soil has impacted the Super Blooms of Daisy Mountain. And, well, lets face it without data, there is no way to know or to study it.
We therefore conveniently draw the conclusion that the answer to the Super Bloom question does not lie in the soil nutrients.
The final factor that has an important impact on vegetation is the temperature. So off we went to find historic temperatures from 2007 – 2020. We did not find the temperatures leading up to the 2010 and 2017 Super Blooms to be notably higher or lower than in years when Daisy Mountain did not bloom. We get that the temperature needs to be in the right range at the time of germination, but it seems that the low fluctuation of temperature creates a range that facilitates germination.
Our conclusion is this: There are many factors that need to come together in perfect harmony to create the conditions necessary to facilitate a Super Bloom on Daisy Mountain. If any of those conditions are missing, the Super Bloom will not happen. We also feel that the single biggest factor in contributing to the Super Bloom is the amount rainfall in January and February.
Our Prediction for 2020
It breaks my heart to tell you that our prediction as to whether or not we will see a Super Bloom on Daisy Mountain in 2020 is that it will NOT happen. We have looked at the actual rainfall for January and February and the predicted rainfall for the remaining days in February and we do not feel that it will be enough to create that Super Bloom that we all love so much.
So, there you have it! What do you think? Do you think Daisy Mountain will Super Bloom this year? We would love to hear from you! Tell us what you think and why you think it.
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We’ll see YOU next Thursday!