Bulb plants might be hurt by low temps & wind, but snow helps

daffodils sprouting
Daffodils in Amherst a month ago on Feb. 21, 2017. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Last week, the daffodils along my driveway were progressing so quickly I thought the blooms might be finished before Easter.

Today, they’re covered in snow.

That may be a good thing.

In February, we had springlike temperatures in the 60s and even 70s, but now we have gotten down into the teens. People are worried about their bulb plants such as daffodils and tulips, and it’s possible that those frigid temperatures, combined with winds, could damage the plants, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses.

The problem is desiccation or drying out.  If the ground is frozen all the way down to the roots, there is no liquid water for the plant to take up, he explained. Winds can dry out the plant and cause damage.

If the recent cold temperatures froze the soil all the way to the roots, you might have a problem, but if there is just a crust on top of the soil that is frozen and the rest of the soil remains thawed, your plant should be all right.

And the snow is a good thing, Yadon said. It will help insulate the plant from the cold air and the wind. The temperature of the snow is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which the plant can tolerate, and the snow doesn’t get any colder than that. The snow protects the plant from the the very frigid air temperatures.


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