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when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

Posted by junkmanme z5 N. NM, USA (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 17:15

My tulips are getting crowded.
I would like to separate them and put them in storage in my Garden Shed this year....AFTER they bloom.
I don't know HOW or WHEN to do this. correctly.
Any Suggestions ?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

Like most bulbs, divide after foliage turns yellow.

I've read it's ok to dig when 2/3s of the foliage has yellowed.
A garden 'fork' has less tendency to slice bulbs than a shovel.
I've had bad luck with dry storage of tulip splits.
Might be our climate (warm and dry).

RE: when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

THANKS for responding !!!
( I have a "Garden-Fork" AND a "pitch-fork" ! )

We'll SEE IF there are OTHER RESPONSES.....

It's just "GUESS-WORK" for me....BUT, YOUR ADVICE fits what I was thinking.

RE: when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

Do you remember which variety you are growing? I'd love to perennial use some tulips in zone 5.

If you mark their location you could wait until fall to divide since they are in a good spot. As I understand it, summer rotting is one of the culprits for early tulip demise but doesn't sound as if you have that problem.

If your soil has a lot of clay, the pitch fork (thinner tined) could break.

Good luck!

RE: when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

In zone 5 you'll have no problem storing the dug-up bulbs in paper bags until re-planting in late fall. Most tulips love zone 5.

RE: when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

Thanks for this. I notice my tulips in front have been dividing nicely, are thick and lush this spring, just starting to bloom. So I will need to thin them.

I've been feeding them with Bloom Booster in spring and fall but didn't get around to it last fall.

RE: when and how to separate tulip bulbs ?

My grandmother used to dig up her tulips every year after blooming. She only had a little garden and liked to use every inch. She would plant them again in the fall.
Tulips really don't like to be wet over the summer and this is often the best way to deal with them. I am too lazy and leave them in unless they need dividing. I am sure I have ruined some by watering my flower beds over the summer when it is dry.
Just wait until the foliage turns yellow, dig them up, brush the dirt off and let them dry in the shade or garage. Then store them in a cool dark place until you are ready to plant again.
Good luck.

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