Why are my bulbs now at the surface?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAOctober 17, 2009

I have been moving plants around in one of my beds near where I have some daffodils planted. I knew I was going to run into them and was carefully digging to avoid them, and I discovered that some are so close to the surface that the tip of the bulb is just under the surface now. I know when I planted them, I had to have dug them in at least 6 inches below the surface, so what happened? I see that has happened in another area too. Any ideas?

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Could it be frost heave from last winter? Or, soil erosion? Just guessing.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 8:18PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Daffodils usually start to grow in fall, prairiemoon.
A lot of mine are coming up just above the surface. It's ok.
Don't worry.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 12:37AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hmmmm....I haven't noticed any frost heave in the garden. There is a slight slope there, so I guess it is possilbe that the soil has traveled, but in a very level bed that is edged with rocks and mulched they have done the same thing, so I guess there's no way to figure out why they have done that.

I imagine you are right pitimpinai, they will probably be fine. I'm going to leave them alone, except in one area where I am redoing a bed anyway, so I may as well reset them at the correct depth. I was going to move them anyway.

Thank you both. :-)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 8:12AM
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I've had the same thing in my flower beds. My theory is that the bulbs have multiplied and the new bulbs have pushed to the surface. When I dig them up, there are many more bulbs than what I planted.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 9:26PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Betsy, you know, I was wondering about that. You might be onto something. I will have to divide them and spread them out more. Interesting theory.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 9:46AM
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This is another Betsy that agrees with wvbetsy. I am in the process of eliminating one entire bed, and I'm moving the daffs & lilies now. I knew where the clumps were because DH had taken periodic photos to show location. One older clump of 'Ice Follies' was a happy surprise when I dug it up (very carefully.) I had originally planted 6-8 bulbs; what I found were bulbs within 1 inch of the soil surface. They had multiplied so much that I now have DOZENS AND DOZENS of daffs from that one clump to find homes for. Some will be located to other spots in the gardens; the rest will be given to a couple of friends that have moved into newer homes where they don't have much growing yet. And all along, I had thought that decreased bloom would signal the need to transplant, but these never slowed down.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 1:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That's funny because mine are 'Ice Follies' too. I haven't had time to dig there and move them yet. I'm still trying to get new bulbs in the ground. I may end up waiting until spring. I was told digging and moving was good just as the foliage is starting to yellow.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 4:17PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

FWIW, Ice Follies are very prolific. They have to be the fastest to reproduce of any bulb I have. Keep that in mind...unless you really LOVE them, replant less of those.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 6:47PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I agree with the betsys, prairiemoon. This fall, I have been dividing some lycoris radiata, and they had moved so close to the surface that the necks of the bulbs had actually broken the surface of the ground. I know I planted them deeper. I kid you not, I dug up four clumps that began with one bulb each about 4 years ago and stopped counting at 60 bulbs. They had failed to bloom this year, and I just figure they had run out of space and were pushing up trying to find root room. Sure made it easy to divide them!

FYI: I had posted a question some weeks ago about the best time to divide and move lycoris. Later, I found in an old Horticulture Magazine that the BEST time is between the time they bloom and the time the leaves appear. The SECOND best time is after the foliage ripens in spring. It was a timely discovery. Sure enough, I moved the bulbs and a couple weeks later, up came the foliage right on schedule.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 7:28PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow! That's a lot of bulbs, Donna! I'm not familiar with lycoris. 4 bulbs into 60 in 4 years? That is a lot of increase! I hope you have a lot of areas to move them into, but, remember that Breck shampoo commercial? And she told two friends, and she told two friends.... [g] Some of my daffodils, in another area, have the neck sticking out of the ground too. I'm excited because it is my Fragrant Rose Daffodils that I am very fond of. I didn't know they would multiply like this.

I wish I had a larger garden that I could plant some distance away from the house, in a meadow and have a huge display and not have to think about the dying foliage that far from the house. I was just looking at my front bed and there is a Pennisetum next to a Nepeta Walker's Low and I thought adding some bulbs underneath that Nepeta foliage has to hide it well. Plus if I remember right, the Nepeta gets going pretty early. I also see an ornamental oregano that is sprawling along the ground that might hide some daff foliage.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 7:06PM
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Hi Everyone, I just had to chime in and tell you all that I have the exact same thing going on with my daffs. And, I JUST planted them a week ago! Today I was planting some hyacinths in the same areas where I had planted the daffs and was surprised to find them just under the soil surface, AND some of them have stems growing up, about a half inch tall. They look like they are going to shoot up and bloom!! I swear, they were six inches deep last week! I don't get it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 10:12PM
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