Re: [gardeners] Covering early tulip tips with soil (
Sat, 13 Feb 1999 15:36:43 -0500

At 09:29 AM 13-02-99 -0600, you wrote:
>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

We frequently have tulips up before a last frost.  The effect on the tulips
varies depending on the severity of the frost and the height of the plant.
If we have a killer frost, the plants can show burn damage; it doesn't stop
them from completing their cycle.  A little or even medium frost won't have
much effect on them, at least ultimately.  I suppose a mulch of
leaves/straw/whatever would prevent the damage -- we never had any mulch at
the right time.  But it works for other plants although I usually mulch at
the fall before the snow.