Lilies forum: Frost/Soil Heaving

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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 7, 2012 7:26 PM CST
I did a walk-around today and found a couple areas of frost heaving. Since this was mentioned here lately, I thought I'd take a couple pictures and post them. Because some members in the southern zones and far northern zones may have never seen this. This is what happens when rain or a heavy wet snow melts, soaks in about 6 to 8 inches, then the temperature drops to overnight lows about 10 degrees F for a couple night and freezes. Then melts and refreezes alternately between freeze/thaw cycles. As the ground freezes deeper to a level of 3 to 4 inches, the already frozen ground at the surface is no longer elastic and cracks. And the cracks get wider with each thaw/freeze cycle. These pictures show many, many freeze/thaw/freeze cycles experienced here in S. E Wisconsin this past winter. In the example shown, the mother bulb is safe below any of this activity, but a 'year old' offset and several of last years offsets along with stem were forced up.
Thumb of 2012-03-08/Roosterlorn/47d747

Thumb of 2012-03-08/Roosterlorn/64055e

Thumb of 2012-03-08/Roosterlorn/0597bf
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Mar 7, 2012 8:45 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #224233 (1)
Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Mar 7, 2012 11:19 PM CST
I frequently see heaving to some degree. Great pics.
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 8, 2012 5:51 AM CST
This year was bad for freeze/thaw cycles here. Usually the surface freezes in mid Dec and stays frozen until early March. And I mulch just before Christmas, then I'm done with it until March when I start pulling back the mulch. This year, an early Jan. inspection showed the ground had rethawed from the bottom up and I saw signs of a couple vole 'runways' so I pulled the mulch back hoping for a permanant freeze up but it never really did. It was just constant cycling--above and below freezing.

The picture is the most extreme I saw yesterday--only a couple like that. But I did see more crocos forced up, too.

P.S. added: Saw a flock of 10 or 11 Robins this morning. They were feasting on 'night crawlers' earthworms on the driveway brought up by last nights rain. I guess the 'early bird gets the worm'.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Mar 8, 2012 7:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Mar 8, 2012 10:44 AM CST
Great pictures to illustrate heaving. Thanks.

Luckily our ground doesn't freeze, other than just where it touches the snow, so we don't have that problem. I always wondered what it really looked like.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Mar 8, 2012 10:54 AM CST
Thanks, Lorn! Especially for your observational explanation. It is a not too common post that such detail is given without someone else having to pull out missing information, asking specific questions that could have better been demonstrated initially.

Not Lilium, but with many bulbs, roots die over the summer and a completely new set of roots begin in the fall. Sometimes they develop extensively, sometimes not very extensive at all, in which case the real growth begins in very early spring. This second grouping would be extremely vulnerable to frost heaving.

It's kind of funny how you speak of cracks: My conditions are different, and I often have cracks of varying size at the end of the summer from shrinking clay based soil losing moisture. The freezing of the soil loosens the soil (while it re wets), and by spring the cracks of yesteryear are gone(!) Of Course, I seldom water, compare to most (who would not have so much summer cracking to begin with).



edited for spelling
[Last edited by Leftwood - Mar 8, 2012 6:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
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JuliaNY
Mar 8, 2012 12:25 PM CST
Lorn: I saw the same thing yesterday when I was cleaning out some of the garden beds.Temps hit 60's here yesterday and of course, today it is raining again. I was going to start searching the internet for help and found your post.

Many baby bulbs (?) had surfaced so I tried to push them back in. We haven't had any measurable snow this winter, temps have moderated up and down all winter and we've had more rain than snow here. I was wondering if this occurrence with the bulbs was normal or perhaps I didn't plant the original bulbs last spring deep enough. Confused I'm really new to all the varieties of lilies but I did think I planted deep enough as the instructions had indicated.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Mar 8, 2012 12:46 PM CST
Great information Lorn. I've seen that all too many times here. Thumbs down
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 8, 2012 4:18 PM CST
Julia, you most likely planted them just like you're supposed to. When I get the little bulblets forced to the surface, I do just like you did--poke them back down an inch or so. Its not fussy as long as they're covered-- thats good enough. Lily bulbs and little bulblets will level themselves even if they're crooked or sideways and if the get forced up, they will pull themselves back down to the level they want to be at.

When I looked at the pictures last night I thought: funny how Mother Nature works sometimes. Here you see the old main stem being separated and lifted harmlessly from the main bulb. And along with it the little bulblets got lifted out and farther away from the main bulb so they're on their own to form a clump. Ah, the marvels of nature at work!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 8, 2012 5:55 PM CST
Rick, thanks for the compliment. I just went back and re-read my post. But did you see? I called bulblets offsets! Tired, I guess. Yeah, I see the cracks you're talking about at my farm in west central WI Z4. in hot, dry weather. Can't water--it runs right down the cracks. Winter surely brings it back to a nice condition by spring, doesn't it!

Chris--thanks also. Check your Tree Mail in a couple hours for a personal note.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Mar 8, 2012 6:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Mar 9, 2012 12:24 PM CST
I just bury the babies. If the bulb is too far above the soil I dig a wider hole and replant bulb removed with lots of soil.

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