Ask a Question forum: Daffodils after blooming

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 5, 2016 10:14 PM CST
I have daffodils in my perennial garden that over the years have become quite large clumps... I know they need to keep photosynthesizing to feed the bulbs, but this year I'm trying hard to rejuvenate this flower bed, which has been quite neglected for a couple of years. The daff leaves are seriously in the way of digging out the weeds and grass that are taking over -- any suggestions?

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 6, 2016 3:36 AM CST
Dig out the daffs and park them somewhere shady with the leaves still on. Then replant them when the bed is done. Or replant later in summer after the leaves have died back if it's easier. They may not all flower the next year but I've done this and only had a few bulbs not survive.
central Illinois
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jmorth
Jun 6, 2016 3:37 AM CST
I'd wait till the daff foliage completes it's energy cycle before disturbing the area. I'd think the offending interlopers could be eliminated then, weed grasses roots usually don't penetrate to deeply. I'd think the daff bulbs would lie below the grass weed roots allowing their removal while leaving the daffs safe at that point. once the grass was removed, you might want to dig some of the daffs out to ease potential over crowding because if left too crowded their ability to continue to bloom nicely will decrease. Removed daffs could then be used to extend the blooming show area in subsequent springs.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 6, 2016 4:35 AM CST
A compromise would be to leave them be for six weeks after flowering and then dig them. It's a lot easier to get them out if they still have upright leaves for "handles" though because there's less bending to pick them up. But I have done it before that and many still flowered the next year.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Jun 6, 2016 6:20 AM CST
Sue, there are way too many for me to even think about digging them all -- believe me! Blinking (that flower bed is about 40 feet long, and I think at least 1/3 of it is full of daffs)

In the past I've always just let the leaves die back before cutting them off -- I really don't want to compromise the daffs, so I'll do that again this year; I'll do what I can now by working around them, then go through it again later on (which I no doubt would need to do anyway). I do keep thinking I should probably thin them out a bit, although they flowered great this year (the photo is from a few years ago) -- so, maybe that will be next year's project!

Thanks for your help! Smiling
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[Last edited by Weedwhacker - Jun 6, 2016 6:20 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 6, 2016 6:35 PM CST
I misunderstood the question then, so you were just asking if it was OK to cut the foliage? General rule of thumb is to give them six weeks if you can't leave them until they die back. I get the impression, might not stand up to scientific anslysis Hilarious! that they die back earlier if one snips off the seed pods, if any. In my mind also rejuvenating the bed meant digging it over Rolling my eyes. .
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Jun 6, 2016 7:20 PM CST
" In my mind also rejuvenating the bed meant digging it over"

Ah -- I can see where you would have thought that! In truth, that's probably what should be done with it... but in reality I'm just hoping to get the weeds under control, and get the flowering plants into some semblance of orderliness. I was even half tempted not to plant my veggie garden this year and just devote my time (and energy) to the perennials -- but I'm afraid I would just rip out the perennials and turn it into lawn before I could bring myself to do that. I was kind of hoping someone would tell me that I could go ahead and cut the daffodil stalks all down right now without causing any harm, but I already pretty much knew that wasn't the case Rolling my eyes. . I guess I'd better take some photos of my progress with this project, which, if nothing else, will remind me in the future to keep up with the thing instead of letting it go. I really appreciate the advice, even if it wasn't what I was hoping to hear! Smiling
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