How to uproot daffs tightly planted in a mixed bed?

linnea56(z5 IL)May 3, 2011

I have a boatload of Ice Follies daffodils. That is one prolific variety (understatement !!!!). I would like to cull them to allow other varieties to shine. Right now I can see who is who.

Is there any way to easily pull them up? I don't care about saving them: even if I was only left with one, in a few years I'd have hundreds! :(

The problem is they are in a bed densely planted with both perennials and many more valuable bulbs like lilies. So if I use a shovel I will do too much damage. Thanks!

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I'd use a narrow trowel and maybe a hand fork to loosen the soil. I don't think there is an easy way. You'll just have to get on your knees and do it carefully. But that's gardening.

Alternatively you could try cutting the Ice Follies off at the base before the leaves brown and hope to weaken them that way. But personally I couldn't do that to a healthy bulb.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 5:24AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Right now I can see who is who.

Could you maybe circle the foliage at ground level, with surveyor's tape to mark them for digging a bit later after all other more precious things are all up and visible?

If they are fairly good sized 'clumps', you might try gathering all the foliage together and when it is really wet out, try and pull them out. If that doesn't work, you could them marl them with tape for later digging.

If you just cut the foliage off and left them, the bulbs wouldn't be harmed, and would be back next spring, just with no blooms.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: flagging tape available at hardware stores

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:19AM
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calistoga_al

A post hole digger, the clam shell type, would let you dig straight down and not disturb the rest of the bed. Al

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 5:32PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I was thinking about taking a black permanent marker and marking them right above ground level: it would last long enough. I think I will try soaking and pulling first. Should have tried it right after last week's torrential rains, but they were in full bloom then, and I would have had a hard time doing it then.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:01PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

If you have to dig, use a digging fork.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 8:04PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Iris, I was going to suggest the same thing. I bought one last year and I love it and it gets plants up out of the ground better than a shovel in my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 8:59PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

That is what I normally use. It reduces the chance of slicing a lily bulb. However, they are still too wide. I have been on the lookout for a narrower one (like 3 tines wide instead of 4), but I don't know if such a thing is made.

In my bulk pack of rubber bands, I found some very thin and wide ones. Like 5-6 inches in diameter: pretty useless for around the house, but just great to ID a clump of daffodils. So I have all the clusters I want to dig out marked now, and until I can get to it, it is quite unobtrusive. Boy, that was a snap (joke, yes, but true, too) : I gathered the leaves together, slipped it over the top, and slid it down to the base.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 9:32PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

I thought somewhere I read that you can cut the daff stem down but leave the rest of the foliage until it dies back. Has anybody tried this method before and do you ruin your chances of the daffs returning and blooming the next year?

What size pot would be considered the right size for them to "heel in?" I'm thinking the size maybe you buy a mum or azelea in. What about an old plastic flowerbox? It wouldn't be the depth that one usually plants the bulbs but since it is a temporary method..would depth matter?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 10:02AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

The stem is green and therefore will photosynthesis and help build the bulb just as the leaves do. All you need to do is snap off the seed pods with finger and thumb, if you can be bothered. Otherwise leave the foliage to die down naturally.

Regarding heeling in, as long as the bulbs are surrounded by soil, the size of the pot is not important. But is there a reason you need to dig them up and heel them in? The easiest thing would be just to leave them where they are?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 12:20PM
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