Planting Bulbs for Spring

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The long, hot summer has finally ended and fall has moved in. The leaves are changing on the trees, mornings, in particular, are crisp and cool, and those of us who are into planting bulbs can’t get them in the ground soon enough.
The perfect time to plant bulbs for spring flowers is October and November, although in some areas that have a warmer climate bulbs can go in the ground until the end of November, maybe into December. Keep in mind, however, if you do plant later in the year that your flowers will likely bloom later in the spring. The great thing is that they’ll bloom on time the year after.
Be sure you select high quality bulbs that are large and firm and stay away from bulbs that soft or have mold growing on them. Larger bulbs typically bloom more than smaller ones. Next, be careful about deciding where to plant. Full sun is more often than not the best choice and you need to make sure the soil drains well.
Once you start planting, make sure you water the bulbs, which will help the roots grow. Regarding how deep to plant the bulbs, dig a hole about two to three times deeper than the bulb is tall. If you have a large, three-inch bulb the hole should be anywhere from six to nine inches deep. If you still have questions, just check the directions that will come with the bulbs. As a general reference, standard Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths go appx 6” deep and smaller bulbs like Crocus, Grape Hyacinths, and naturalizing tulips 3-4” deep.
It’s best to plant the bulbs with the pointed end up. If your bulb doesn’t have a point, just remember that the side where the roots emerge from the bulb should face down. In general, bulbs look better planted in groups in holes as big as a diner plate (use a garden spade instead of a bulb planter). Layer different kinds of bulbs from the bottom to the top in the same hole to create a succession of blooms wherever you choose to plant. Also, mix some compost into the hole to help intensify blooming.
There is also a unique procedure of planting spring blooming bulbs beneath cool season flowers such as Pansies and Violas. These beauties will emerge in early to mid spring and poke thru those developed blooming flowers to get double the blooming feature and power. Use contrasting colors to enhance each other such as red tulips beneath yellow pansies.
Finally, keep weeds away from your planted bulbs by spreading several inches of mulch over the dirt. Mulching will also provide a neater finished bulb planting project and also acts as a soil insulator to keep the soil temperature constant properly controlling the timing of the bulb’s emergence in early spring. You can also lay a piece of chicken wire down over the soil, which will keep animals from destroying your hard work and robbing you of beautiful spring flowers. Squirrels, chipmunks, and other small rodents are the troublesome critters that often enjoy digging up bulbs. Apply repellents focused for this types of troublesome pests can assist with repelling the critters from your bulb planting investment. Remember, you’ll have to reapply as needed usually being once every week or two.
Happy fall bulb planting!

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