The Q&A Archives: Bulbs Sprouted Early

Question: I live in Washington, DC and I can't seem to figure out what zone I am in. Every map I look at seems to say something different. Also, I planted some bulbs last fall and due to the strangeness of our weather the plants started coming up in December - they were of course later frozen and then tried to grow again only to have a large amount of snow dumped on them again last week. What should I do for this in the future? Will it matter that they have been burned by the snow and frost? Is there anything I should do to help them? If they are ruined are the bulbs themselves ruined? Should I have covered them with some sort of mulch? Is it possible that I am just not in a good area for growing bulbs? I planted mostly tulips and daffodills.

Answer: It has been a confusing winter. I hope spring and summer behave normally! I'm sure the flower bulbs are fine, though the flower buds may have been damaged by cold temperatures. When spring arrives in earnest, you can give the plants a light feeding with flower fertilizer to help the bulbs grow strong and produce flower buds for the following year.

If your soil freezes in fall/winter, you can mulch with several inches of bark mulch to keep the ground frozen, which will hopefully keep the bulbs from pushing up during thaws. Best of luck!

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