spring bulbs

(Question)

Many of my spring bulbs are already sprouted 3 or 4 inches
should I cover them
and if so – with what? soil? mulch? compost?

(Answer)

Hello, Norma Rose,

It’s likely that what you’re seeing is the foliage of grape hyacinths (Muscari), which do make leaves in fall to nourish the bulbs for next spring. Thing of this as snacking, and it is perfectly normal. No need to cover them up.

Sometimes bulbs can be fooled into pushing up leaves too early. However, this happens later in winter after an extended cold period followed by unseasonably warm weather. This has not been the case in Fall 2013, which has been a long extension of summer.

If you do see late-winter sprouting, you can cover the leaves with some compost or mulch, if it’s available (and not frozen). However, this is not essential. The leaves might get a bit winter-burned, but the flower buds are still protected within the bulb.

Enjoy your spring garden.