Keith Kridler, Texas

Chilling hours for daffodils

February 7, 2010
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Categories: Bulb Information, Diseases and Pests, Fungus, Growing Daffodils, Soil, Weather and Temperature

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Like many areas in the northern hemisphere we are having a far colder December and January. We are several weeks behind with our early daffodils blooming. Below is a link to the Overton Texas Agriculture weather station that tracks chilling hours for fruit and nut trees. This station is 60 miles south of our house and a little warmer normally than what we record locally.
http://overton.tamu.edu/weather/chill.htm
While October and November were WAY wetter and MUCH warmer than normal, starting Dec. 4th we got our first freezing temperatures and have not ever warmed up!
We have now had more than 275 hours below 32*F or 0*C when we normally average about 120 hours for the whole winter season. The coldest nights were around 12*F or -12*C here at our house and this burned off tazetta foliage right above the ground or severely damaged it to the point that few leaves have stood back up.
Daffodils were actively sprouting and many leaf tips were up about 2″ or 5 CM when the really cold temperatures ripped through so now a LOT of foliage on the tips are damaged and leaves show severe signs of rot, mold and fungus eating up the damaged cells.
Our large drifts of Sugar Cups, Avalanche, Erlicheer, Italicus, Papaeyrus appear to have entirely lost their ability to stand up any leaves to capture sunlight and produce food for the bulbs. Many of the buds on these were above ground level at the time of the freeze and all of the early blooms were lost. I expect we will get quite a few secondary blooms out of these patches but boy is this going to be one of those years that you wished you had taken MORE photos LAST year!!!
We were so wet this past year from May on that we were never able to take mulch in our manure spreader to scatter over the daffodils to keep the soil cooler. We continue to bury up our four wheel drive tractor everytime we attempt to pull out fallen trees or clear up storm damaged limbs.
Poor daffodil bulbs are getting soft and their roots are drowning as one flood after another passes through! Even my toes are starting to get fungus and show water damage as we stay in damp wet socks and rubber boots day after day:-))
You gotta love daffodil season! In two days I need to pick blooms for our club training session on grooming and showing daffodils and I only have THREE varieties when normally we have several hundred in bloom! Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant Texas cool 38*F or 4*C with heavy, cold rain predicted for tomorrow and low 20*F or -7*C predicted for our daffodil grooming program on Wednesday!

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