Bulb planting tools

Kathleen Sayce kathleen.sayce@gmail.com
Mon, 10 Jun 2019 07:59:42 PDT
Robin asked:
When planting bulbs in turf, how do you determine which bulbs can handle the
conditions involved, not so much moisture, but competition from the turf
itself?  I notice that my cyclamen, at least under the sandy soil conditions
I have, stay on top of the soil and don't root in sometimes. (I just threw
out seed and waited to see what happened.)

My most successful bulbs in turf areas are partially shaded, where the lawn is more moss than grass. Or in full sun where sand dune sedge, Carex pansa, dominates the turf. 
I add red or Roemer’s fescue and other native grasses. 

I also actively weed out those taprooted European daisy family dandelion-like flowers with a weed puller I can use standing up, which saves my back much trauma and is a good shoulder workout so long as I switch arms and legs regularly. These species harbor slug eggs and baby sluglings, and can easily cover a square foot per plant if allowed to grow. Hairy catsear is particularly obnoxious as a slug refuge. I also pull velvet grass and other clonal grasses to keep the competition down. My weed puller is Grampa's Weeder. I have tried many other styles and makes. 

As Jane pointed out, how bulbs handle mowing matters. I tried daffodils and crocus early on, found that the former vanished due to dry summer soils and the latter due to voles. Might try some of those tiny varieties and species that are more mediterranean in shadier, in my damper lawn areas, and if they thrive there, see if they can take dry conditions in the sunnier areas. 

As for cyclamen, planted or seed started, I mow over them after leaves begin drying down. So far I haven’t had any big Cyclamen growing on the surface in turf, probably because I dig them out of the lawn to give away, and none have stayed to become large. If they like living in turf, and get big, I’d probably replant them further down. Or toss soil over them to bury the bulbs a bit more. 

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