Mulch Your Spring Bulbs In The Fall For A Beautiful Spring Display


Visitors: 439

Flower bulbs need a good, long, winters sleep. Like some people we know, if they wake up before they are fully rested, they get kind of cranky, and then they don’t bloom well at all.

Actually what happens is during a mild winter, the soil stays too warm, and the bulbs begin to come out of dormancy early. They start to grow, and once the tips emerge above the soil line, they are subject to freezing if the temperatures dip back down below freezing. And that’s usually what happens. After the bulbs have emerged, they freeze and then don’t bloom at all, or if they do it’s a very sad display.

Another reason this happens is because the bulbs are not planted deep enough. They may have been deep enough when you planted them, but as the soil goes through the freezing and thawing process, the bulbs can actually work their way up in the ground.

One way to keep your flower bulbs sleeping longer, which will protect them from freezing, is to mulch the bed. In the fall just apply a 3-4" layer of well composted mulch. This layer of mulch will do a couple of things. It will maintain a higher moisture content in the soil, which is good, as long as the soil isn’t too soggy. Well composted mulch also adds valuable organic matter to the planting bed. Organic matter makes a great natural fertilizer.

A 3-4" layer of mulch also acts as an insulator. It will keep the soil from freezing for a while, which is good because you don’t want the bulbs going through a series of short cycles of freezing and thawing. Then when the temperatures drop below freezing and stay there for a while, the soil does eventually freeze. Then the mulch actually works in reverse and keeps the soil from thawing out too early. Keeping it in a frozen state is actually good because the bulbs remain dormant for a longer period of time.

When they finally do wake up it is spring time, and hopefully by the time they emerge from the ground the danger of a hard freeze is past and they will not be damaged. If you can keep them from freezing, they will flower beautifully. The extra organic matter will help to nourish the bulbs when they are done blooming, and the cycle starts all over again.

We also plant annual flowers in the same beds with our spring bulbs. By the time the danger of frost is past and it’s time to plant the annuals, the top of the bulbs have died back and are ready to be removed. The mulch that is added in the fall also helps to nourish the annual flowers, as well as improve the soil permanently.

Anytime you add well composted organic matter to your planting beds, you are bound to realize multiple benefits. The key words here are “well composted". Fresh material is not good.

About The Author

Michael J. McGroarty is the author of the popular gardening book “Free Landscape Plants!" as well as the owner and author of the gardening website Visit the website and sign up for his free gardening newsletter, and learn how to start your own money making backyard nursery on 1/20 acre or less.


Article Source:

Rate this Article: 
Time Changes-- Spring Forward Or Fall Back!
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes

Related Articles:

Fall Garden Chores for Spring Flowering Bulbs

by: Ed Rooney (August 31, 2005) 
(Home and Family/Landscaping Gardening)

Tulip Bulbs - Fall is the Time to Prepare the Perfect Spring Flower Garden

by: Linda Jenkinson (September 20, 2005) 
(Home and Family/Landscaping Gardening)

Spring Bulbs

by: Dan Ezell (July 23, 2008) 
(Home and Family/Gardening)

My Spring Bulbs Won't Bloom - Why?

by: Doug Green (March 29, 2005) 
(Home and Family/Landscaping Gardening)

How to Plant Spring Flower Bulbs

by: Seth Miller (September 23, 2005) 
(Home and Family/Landscaping Gardening)

Tips for Planting Bulbs in Spring

by: Chrystal Holman (March 19, 2007) 
(Home and Family)

How to Choose the Right Bulbs for Your Spring Flower Garden

by: Linda Jenkinson (August 02, 2005) 
(Home and Family/Landscaping Gardening)

Bulbs Planting in Autumn Ensures a Colourful Spring

by: James Kilkelly (September 10, 2006) 
(Home and Family)

Spring Outside, Winter in the Office? 8 Steps to Spring Clean Your Workplace

by: Clare Wildman (March 31, 2008) 
(Self Improvement/Organizing)

Time Changes-- Spring Forward Or Fall Back!

by: Greg Ryan (July 08, 2005) 
(Self Improvement/Spirituality)