[gardeners] Covering early tulip tips with soil

Marguerite Ruch (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 13 Feb 1999 09:29:27 -0600

Here, on the shore of Truman Lake in southern Missouri, our temperatures
in the last two weeks have been in the 50's, 60's, and even 70 degrees
on occasion.  The tulips I planted last fall, are coming up, with some
above the ground 1/2 inch and others are 3 inches high above the
ground.  I covered them with blankets the first night of below freezing
temperatures (20 degrees Farenheit, after 70 degrees the day before)
Then, the second night of below-freezing temperatures, I decided to
cover the  tulip tips entirely, that were above the ground, with garden
soil that had a high content of peat moss.  I reasoned that would be
lighter weight on the green tulip tips. ( I didn't have other mulch,
which I would have preferred using.)  My question is, have I just killed
my tulips for this spring?    If I had left the 3 inches of
growth-above-the-ground, with no protection/covering during the nights
of 20 degree temperature, what would have been the immediate damage, and
how would that exposure have effected the appearance of the plant and
its bloom in the spring?
Thanks for any advice.
Marguerite Ruch