Daylilies forum: Do you use mulch on a seedling bed?

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Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 7, 2016 8:47 PM CST
I'm getting ready to plant my DL seedlings outside. Should I use mulch? If so, is there a preference?

It just seems that they should be mulched but many pictures I've seen here at ATP do not have mulch.

I'm in zone 5a, that "may" make a difference...perhaps??? They will not be in a raised bed, just straight into the ground.
Name: Maryl
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
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Maryl
May 8, 2016 12:40 AM CST
I use Pine Bark Mulch around many plants, but daylilies would not be one of them. Mulch is a great hiding place for slugs, which enjoy munching on daylilies (think of it as a cool dark cover for them during the day)........... Ants favor mulch too. I'm constantly disrupting massive colonies underneath my bark mulch. Ants and aphids have a mutually beneficial association. The ants milk aphids for their honeydew and drive off aphid predators, thereby protecting them. They have been known to even carry aphids in to start up a new "ranch". Along with slugs, aphids are one of daylilies main pests......Personally I think that seedlings might be better off without mulch and all the unsavory critters it can harbor............Maryl
Name: Angela
Jacksonville, NC (Zone 8a)
Composter
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dayliliesandart
May 8, 2016 5:12 AM CST
I agree No mulch. Just be diligent and keep the weeds out.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 8, 2016 6:44 AM CST
Thank You! That is logical. Certainly explains why the seedling beds seen on this sight never have mulch.

Welcome Angela!! Just noticed you are a VERY new member. You will love it here.
[Last edited by petruske - May 8, 2016 6:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
May 8, 2016 7:11 AM CST
Welcome Angela! Welcome!

I agree, no mulch and clear out any debris under the plants such as leaves including dead daylily leaves.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
May 8, 2016 8:24 AM CST
Sue,
Do you think they'll need a mulch over winter, or is your snow cover consistent enough to protect them from cold snaps and heaving?
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
May 8, 2016 8:30 AM CST
I started out my first seedling bed without any mulch.

I can agree about mulch being a harboring spot for slugs.

However, we are still on drought watering restrictions here, my seedling beds are on drip, and I decided that maybe the prudent thing to do was to help conserve the soil moisture by mulching (plus it makes the beds look better, while the seedlings are still young). I was also having problems with the first few blooms opening in my unmulched first seedling bed. That could have been due to not enough soil moisture, or it could have been due to our still cold nights. I can't do anything about cold nights, and I'm not supposed to be watering more Whistling , so conserve what water does go into the bed. (The conservation of soil moisture might also help with the overall growth of the seedlings, which in turn I hope will give me bloom on most, if not all, seedlings within a year.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 8, 2016 8:09 PM CST
CaliFlowers said:Sue,
Do you think they'll need a mulch over winter, or is your snow cover consistent enough to protect them from cold snaps and heaving?


I think they will need protection for the winter. Maybe I'll put light mulch on them late in the fall and make sure it gets pulled away in the spring after things warm up a bit.
Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
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mistyfog
May 8, 2016 8:13 PM CST
We use a very thin layer of pine bark mulch on the seedling beds.
A thin layer helps to conserve some moisture, and we do not see so
many critters when spreading it thin. Also, it looks nicer, and cuts
down on some of the weeds.

We don't add any extra for the winter. The seedlings do very well
with this method in our locale. We seldom lose any seedlings.
Others location requirements may differ.
[Last edited by mistyfog - May 8, 2016 8:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
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bluegrassmom
May 9, 2016 4:47 AM CST
I am thinking about adding a thin layer. Right now I have nothing on the yearlings.

Welcome, Angela. I love daylilies and art also. Are you an artist?

Teresa in KY
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 9, 2016 4:57 AM CST
I would not mulch very young seedlings as soon as they are planted for two reasons. The first is that if they are small the mulch will bury the crowns too deep, and secondly there is a possibility of nitrogen depletion right at the interface between a non-decomposed organic mulch and the soil. This would not much affect deeper rooted or established plants but could impact a small seedling that is just planted.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
May 9, 2016 9:50 PM CST
Thanks for that comment, Sue. I had not considered how mulch on small seedlings might impact the availability of fertilizer. (I was careful to keep the mulch away from the crowns of the seedlings.)

I will have another 80+ seedlings ready to plant sometime within the next month. I will have to consider not mulching them until they are larger, even though we are moving into warmer weather now.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 9, 2016 10:22 PM CST
sooby said:I would not mulch very young seedlings as soon as they are planted for two reasons. The first is that if they are small the mulch will bury the crowns too deep, and secondly there is a possibility of nitrogen depletion right at the interface between a non-decomposed organic mulch and the soil. This would not much affect deeper rooted or established plants but could impact a small seedling that is just planted.


Speaking of the "crown", how deep should a seedling be planted? I know full grown daylilies the crown can be buried 1" (max), but what about seedlings?

Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
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mistyfog
May 9, 2016 11:01 PM CST
Welcome! Angela. Weeding can be a great pastime for thinking and
enjoying the day.

Sue, when we transplant the seedlings from the pots to outside
beds, they are planted the same depth as they were in the pots
which means the crowns are barely below the ground surface.
At this point, the seedlings have a small crown, and mostly
have roots.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
May 10, 2016 12:58 AM CST
I try not to plant the crown any deeper than 1/2" or so. Any deeper than that, if the seedling pulls itself down deeper, then it may not bloom. Any shallower than that, and it tends to fall over, maybe exposing its roots.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 10, 2016 4:39 PM CST
Thank you! I figured that, good to have it verified. I can't wait to start. Soon, very soon I'll be able to get at it. I know it will be a job. I've got way over 700 to transplant. Not sure I have room for all of them. We'll see...
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
May 10, 2016 5:39 PM CST
700 Blinking Holy crow. I only have another 80-odd to do, and I'm hardening them off in batches of 20-odd so I don't have to do it all at once.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue Petruske
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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petruske
May 10, 2016 5:45 PM CST
I know I'll have a heck of a time. I planted them over a period of 2 months (something like that). I want to plant all of one cross together but some seeds would germinate weeks apart so they are in different trays. I have them all charted out on paper as to what is in which tray. But with 12 trays Blinking I'll be driving myself nuts Confused Oh well...just another leg of this exciting journey. Thumbs up Wish me luck Smiling
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
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javaMom
May 16, 2016 5:13 PM CST
Welcome! Angela !
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
May 16, 2016 5:38 PM CST
Big time luck, Sue. That sounds like one heck of a challenge!! I tip my hat to you.

And yep, welcome Angela! The people here are incredibly friendly and have a huge wealth of knowledge. Enjoy both! Welcome!

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