Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time is Right to Order Fall Bulbs

By David Burton
University Extension

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As summer begins to wane, it’s time to decide which spring flowering bulbs you want to add to your landscape.
“You need to select good quality bulbs for planting, paying attention to size and firmness. Choose bulbs that are firm and free from soft or rotting spots, and signs of disease,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
There are three sources for bulbs: mail order catalog, local nurseries, and discount business.
Since mail order business tend to have a larger selection of bulb varieties, many gardeners order their bulbs for fall planting through catalogs. This does have one big disadvantage: you won’t know what the bulb looks like until it arrives.
“If you’re going to order by mail, make sure you buy from companies that have a good reputation, or that friends and family recommend highly,” said Byers.
When the bulbs arrive be sure to store them in a cool place. They will need to be kept between 50-and-60-degrees.
“Avoid storing them near any ripening fruits because the ethylene in the fruit can cause flowering disorders. This is especially true for tulips,” said Byers.
Spring flowering bulbs can be planted once the temperatures begin to cool. In this Ozarks this tends to be in mid- to late-October.
For more information, contact the Master Gardener Helpline at the Greene County Extension Center, 417-862-9284.

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