I moved into my house last September and began mowing as normal. I only
found out this year that I had about 100 daffodils in a certain area of the
lawn. They certainly do punch through the turf. As far as peeling back the
turf for a new planting....hmmm. I guess it depends on how big an area and
how many bulbs, as well as what kinds of resources (tools, money) you have
available. If I were planting bulbs under grass, I think I'd utilize two
people. One with a long bulb planter (the cylindrical cutter with a long
handle), and the other person doing the planting and replacing the plugs of
thanks. I read the planter method is ok for small numbers, but every book I
checked says the turf peeling is best for large numbers.
There are no examples I can examine in my city whatsoever. I think if I try
it will be with something small and understated like Scilla.
I've had better success with some bulbs naturalizing in lawns than others.
Crocus seems to come back pretty reliably. I had chionodoxa for 3 years, but
each year it got less and less vigorous and finally died out. Tulips will
come back IF the foliage is not mowed before late May. Obviously, if you
want a neat looking lawn, only the very earliest bulbs will naturalize in
them, because the rule of thumb is that a bulb must keep its foliage for at
least 6 weeks after blooming in order to store enough food to bloom the
following year. A bulb that blooms in February will have a better chance
than a bulb that blooms at the end of April of the beginning of May, because
the lawn will look like a wild pasture if left unmowed until early June.
I plant small stuff by angling a spade into the lawn and sort of bending
it up, then pop a few tiny bulbs in and stomp down. Have done crocus
and bluets--small nodding deep blue flowers, not sure what they're
really called--this way in a couple places I've lived. Simple and works
just fine. I have daffs in one place in the lawn in my current house
from previous owners. Greens come up and no flowers for five years now.
I have this problem too. I have about ten or twelve little bunches
where only greenery came out. I ended up with two dafs in total, very
disappointing. The first year they all came up fine, we're now in year
two. We didn't mow them down until late summer/early fall.
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