Trimming Roots of Potted bulbs

Joyce Miller
Thu, 20 Mar 2008 12:44:40 PDT
Hi Kenneth and all,
    My experiences are only anecdotal, but my findings are that trimmed
roots are for the convenience of the bulb vendors in packing.  If a bulb
 has live roots all year, I would not trim them when transplanting.
A couple of years ago an experienced bulb grower and hybridist sent
me some pollen from a couple of Hippeastrum species.  I used the pollen
on some recently purchased bulbs from a good name plant vendor.  The bulbs
were trimmed as is the custom.   After pollination, the ovary swelled as 
but blasted before final ripening.  I wrote to my friend.  He wrote back 
he found fresh bulbs with trimmed roots often blasted if pollination is done 
the first year.
In addition, I often find newly bulbs do not flower the following season but
this may be due to my lapse in care.

Old wives tales abound.  In California and even here in Oregon, it is
a common practice to prune major limbs to stumps.  Actually,
this practice is common with a number of trees.  The result produces
countless sprouts the following spring.  I find the practice apalling and 
believe it distorts
the natural beauty of the tree.  I think new home owners see
a neighbor trimming his tree back harshly and think this is the way things
should be done.  When I see this I sort of laugh to myself.  Years ago this 
pruning was done in France to produce kindling for wood  burning stoves.

Best wishes, Joyce Miller, Gresham, Oregon USA USDA 7-8.

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