year the flower buds on this clump of special daffodils turn brown
and fail to flower. There's no sign of fungal disease, so could
they be getting frosted? They are right by the terrace steps and
others there are ok. Any suggestions?
looks as if the problem is lack of water rather than a pest or disease.
The damage can sometimes be caused weeks before you see the symptoms
and some varieties are more prone to it than others, hence not all
your daffodils are affected.
The best treatment is
to improve the water retention properties of your soil. A layer
of mulch is the most practicable way of conserving soil moisture.
You could use organic
materials like bark, compost, pea straw or peat - apply them 6-8cm
deep over the area when the bulbs are dormant.
The same effect can be
had from white pebbles or light-coloured gravel which reflect heat,
keeping the soil cool, as well as reducing moisture loss.
You might go so far as
to poke holes around the clump of bulbs and pour in some water retention
granules such as Waterwell or Crystal Rain, but bear in mind you'll
need to reapply these every year.
For this sort of treatment
to work well, the soil must be moist first, so get out the hose
first or wait until after a good shower of rain.
Gardener, Issue 140, 2004, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.