Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tulip Fire

Last year the fungal disease 'tulip fire' effected most our tulips - their leaves went blotchy and all dark coloured flowers had horrible pock marks on their flowers. I took advice and dug up all the bulbs. Or at least I though I had. Unfortunately - like old potato crops - every bit of bulb mistakenly left in the ground has sent up shoots.
This is partly the disease - one of the signs is the appearance of very early, very thin shoots which rapidly turn mouldy in humid weather and then spread the infection. Another sign is small blotchy spots on otherwise normal leaves - again if there is a bit of humidity these can create mould spores very quickly.
I am now busy digging out all the leaves that have sprouted in the old tulip beds. Part of the problem is that I planted the bulbs very deeply - to make themmore perennial- and then over planted with herbs. Now it is difficult to get all the bits of bulb out.
The new tulip beds are far away from the old infected ground and I now plant tulips very shallowly, removing the whole bulb when I pick the flowers. I daren't risk getting more infected ground - a spring without tulips would be unthinkable.

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