Ashton Walden’s Guide to Planting Bulbs before Winter

If you’ve never planted bulbs before, you may not realize that you need to plant them before the holiday season. The pros at Ashton Walden have put together several tricks for planting bulbs, so
before you grab a trowel and head outside, read on to make sure you plant your bulbs perfectly this fall. For more tips on what you should be doing to prep next year’s lawn,
check out our post “5 Fall Musts for a Killer Spring Lawn.”

Which Bulbs to Plant

If you’re shopping around, you may have noticed that there are different kinds of bulbs. “Tender bulbs” should be planted in the spring, because as the name suggests, they don’t withstand the cold of winter very well. This post focuses on what are known as “hardy bulbs, ” like tulips, Dutch iris, hyacinths, and alliums, which are planted in the fall and bloom in the spring or summer. Hardy bulbs require a period of cold in order to bloom, which is why it’s important to get them in the ground in time to enjoy the cold weather.

When to Plant Bulbs

Where you live dictates the best time to plant bulbs. Here in the area of Lubbock, Texas, our customers should be planting some time around early November. Ideally, you should plant bulbs a few weeks before the ground begins to freeze deeply, so the plant has time to establish roots. Planting in early November also ensures that you’ll be done before the ground freezes and becomes more difficult to work with. When evening temperatures are falling to the 40°F – 50°F range, it’s time to get planting!

If you’re worried your bulbs won’t have enough time in the cold, you can refrigerate bulbs to help them along. Pop them in the crisper for 8 to 10 weeks, just make sure you keep them away from fruits and vegetables while they’re in your fridge. As long as your lawn isn’t too frozen to dig into, you can take them out and plant them as late as early January.

Where to Plant Bulbs

For the most part, where you plant bulbs depends on how you want to design your garden. Bulbs are happy anywhere that drains well, so you’ll just want to avoid areas that collect water. When planting your bulbs, you’ll need to refer to their packaging to determine their required depth. Most bulbs need to be kept either four or eight inches deep. The correct depth is especially important to hardy bulbs, since their distance from the surface affects the temperatures they will experience throughout the winter.

How to Plant Bulbs

  1. Select hardy bulbs that are designed to survive winter outdoors.
  2. Pick a spot in your lawn that won’t collect water and drown your bulbs.
  3. Dig into the soil to loosen it up. If the ground where you want to plant is particularly tough, you might need to add some kind of extra organic matter like peat moss or compost.
  4. Read your bulb packaging to determine the right depth for your plant.
  5. Dig the hole and place your bulb, roots down.
  6. Re-cover your planted bulb and water.

Even if you’ve missed your ideal window of opportunity, plant the bulbs. They might not have the best circumstances, but they’ll definitely be wasted if you wait for next year. (Bulbs aren’t like other seeds, they can’t survive indefinitely out of the ground.) Bulbs, especially the hardy ones you’ll be thinking about planting this time of year, are strong, surprising plants that often make it through less-than-perfect beginnings.

If you’re prepping your lawn for winter, or just planning next year’s spring lawn, give the lawn care experts at Aston Walden a call, at (806) 632-3571, or visit our website to get in touch. We’d love to help you make this spring more beautiful than ever!

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