The Q&A Archives: Bulbs popping out of ground

Question: After some heavy rains last spring, my muscari bulbs, which have been in the ground for a number of years, started popping out of the ground. What happened? Kay Smith Indianapolis, IN

Answer: Soil erosion, frost heaving or overcrowding could have caused the bulbs to pop out of the ground, explains Theresa Lusch, horticulturist at Spring Hill Nursery in Peoria, Illinois. Since muscari bulbs are planted only a few inches deep, freezing and thawing of the ground, coupled with the soil washing away during spring rains, could have eroded the ground around the bulbs and made it appear as if they had popped out. Simply push the bulbs back into the ground to solve this problem. Mulch the planting after the ground has frozen in fall with a two- to four-inch layer of bark mulch to avoid this problem in the future, advises Lusch. Because you haven't separated the muscari bulbs in a number of years, it's also possible they could be overcrowded, causing the daughter bulbs to break off the mother bulb and be forced out of the ground. Dig up the bulbs, separate the daughter bulbs from the mother bulbs and replant all the bulbs at least two inches apart and two inches deep in the bed.

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