separating tulip bulbs

Hello,
I live in Madison, Wisconsin, USA (zone 4 or 5). We have some tulips that have been growing for 3 or 4 years now, and they are getting crowded. How and when do I separate them?
When answering, assume that I can kill plants more effectively than nurture them.
Thank you,
Ted Shoemaker
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On 19 Aug 2004 16:30:02 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Ted Shoemaker) wrote:

Any time after the foliage has died back is good for digging/dividing. Just dig carefully, break the bulbs apart, and re-plant with a little bulb food of your choice. How lucky you are to have tulips that multiply instead of disappearing!
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The first fall, we planted about 400 flowers. We mainly fed the squirrels. About 10% of them came up the next spring. Fewer still came up the next year. This one batch of tulips is the exception.
Ted Shoemaker
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The first year we planted tulips, the same thing happened. Squirrels. Last year after planting some more, we laid chicken wire down over the top of the planted bulbs, and they (the squirrels and other bulb thieves) couldn't get to them. This Spring when they started coming up, we removed the chicken wire, and as far as I could tell, we didn't lose a single one to the little thieves. --Scott

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Ted Shoemaker wrote:

Here is the method that I use to keep the squirrels from bothering my bulbs: Right after you plant them be sure to water them well. Then take some moth balls and crush them up (moth flakes work better but in the last few years I have not been able to find them at a reasonable cost). Sprinkle them on top of the area where your bulbs are planted. Rake them in a little (it helps to leave them close to and on top of of the surface). I have been using this method for my bulbs for years and it has worked well for me. I also have tried putting pepper on the area where the bulbs were planted but that didn't work well for me and that is why I switched to moth balls.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

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