Spring bulbs and straw­ber­ries

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - Prob­lems? Ringme at 0800 466464 (Palmer­ston North 3570606). Email­wal­lyjr@gar­de­news.co.nz. Web­site: gar­de­news.co.nz

Daf­fodils and freesia which can be left in the ground for a few sea­sons, need to be lifted and di­vided about ev­ery 3-4 years. Now is a good time to do that while they are dor­mant.

be lifted and di­vided about ev­ery 3-4 years. Now is a good time to do that while they are dor­mant.

Be care­ful not to dam­age the bulbs. Once lifted they can be sep­a­rated and placed on a tray in an airy sit­u­a­tion out of sun­light. Plant out the bet­ter sized bulbs, plac­ing the smaller ones into a nurs­ery tray with compost to grow on.

Spring bulb seeds can also be planted in nurs­ery trays.

Xmas and other lilies will be in fo­liage at this time and it is im­por­tant to leave them till the fo­liage dies down. If the clump has not been lifted for three or more years, lift while dor­mant, sep­a­rate and re­plant. Lily bulbs must not be al­lowed to dry out so while out of the ground keep in moist saw­dust, sphag­num moss or straw.

Dahlias will die back as win­ter creeps in and can be lifted (best) or left in the soil to take their chances in win­ter. Again, al­low to dry in an airy sit­u­a­tion out of di­rect sun­light and store safely dry till the spring.

Whole tu­bers can be planted, but it is bet­ter to layer them in a tray with compost and let them sprout by keep­ing moist. As with kumera, when there are sprouts about 8cm tall, lift and with a sharp knife par the sprout away from the tu­ber with­out dam­ag­ing any roots.

Place th­ese into small pots with compost to grow on and de­velop more roots be­fore plant­ing out. The old tu­ber can be thrown away.

Do this and you will have bet­ter dahlias each year.

Now, what to do about straw­berry run­ners. En­sure they are run­ning across soil so that they can take root, and spray them ev­ery cou­ple of weeks with My­cor­rcin.

In May, lift the run­ners and re­plant. Older thick clumpy par­ent plants will not do so well and can be dis­carded and re­placed with th­ese free run­ner plants.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX NZ

Now is the time to se­lect and plant bulbs for spring show.

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