The Q&A Archives: Digging Up Forlorn Bulbs

Question: I have tried unsuccessfully to dig up some tulip bulbs which haven't bloomed in a number of years. But each spring, the blossomless plants reappear. I would like to plant some new bulbs, but need to get rid of these first. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: Is it possible there are some bulbs left deep down in the soil? Keep in mind too that the original bulbs have probably divided into more bulbs than were originally planted, so you'll need to look carefully through the surrounding soil to find all of them. If you miss some, you should be able to trim off thenew foliage as it emerges and eventually exhaust the bulbs. I suppose too it is possible that some of the growth you are seeing is seedlings. These could be smothered out with a layer of mulch over top a layer of dampened newspaper. Then plant your new bulbs through holes cut in the paper so they can emerge easily next spring.

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