Tulip Garden Update: January 15, 1999
Garden Grand Total
Now when do you suppose the first tulips will emerge---and whose will they be.....?
Too Many Tulips?
No such thing! But if younger students are overwhelmed with tulip data, follow the suggestion of 1st grade teacher Patti Prieves:
As spring progresses, watch for regular suggestions for analyzing data at all grade levels.
Which Comes First? The Tulip or the Tree's Leaves?
Do tulips emerge from the ground before the leaves come out on the trees in the spring? Or do the leaves come first? Which bloom first, tulips or trees?
Journey North's Leaf-Out Study
Discussion of Challenge Question #4
Warm Fall's Affect on Tulips
It was as warm as spring when we wrote last December, so why weren't the tulips emerging and blooming yet? (You're welcome to dig up a bulb or two and tell us what's happening underground!, we suggested.)
Collins High School students in Collins, Mississippi say the time period was not long enough to prompt blooming. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"We think they have to have a certain amount of warm days after being cold to wake them up, and it hasn't been cold yet!", says Mrs. Kloewer's 7th grade class in York, Nebraska. "We figure that is why classes in warm places have to put them in the refrigerator. We think it is the spring warm time that will decide when they bloom. But how cold does it have to get? We want to know what will happen if it doesn't get that cold!"
Good question! We contacted the tulip expert Kim Tyson at Netherland Bulbs and asked.
"Tulips need to go through a cooling cycle in order to bloom. This is why people in the warm regions must pre-cool their bulbs prior to planting--or they will not get any blooms. However, we have heard of bulbs EMERGING due to this warm fall. We have had several calls that bulbs planted in early September are reaching above the soil."
Mary Meyer of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum agrees: "It is somewhat common for the green leaf tips to emerge in the fall, especially in warmer climates, but no flowers come then. Sometimes the minor (small) bulbs, like grape hyacinth, may flower in a mild fall, but a tulip would not flower until the chilling requirement is met."
What's going on underground?
Fourth and fifth graders in Henrietta, NY tried to find out:
Mary Meyer explains what's happening
to your bulbs now: "If students do dig up a bulb, they should find good root formation. The tulips create
their root base from the time they are planted until the ground freezes. And the better the root system, the bigger
and better the flower will be next spring. Cutting open a bulb longitudinally would show small, yellow leaf tissue
and perhaps a small flower bud. As long as the tissue is white, or pale yellow, it is healthy and growing. Signs
of brown or black tissue are an indication of problems and that some death of cells/tissue has occurred. This may
happen if the bulb was frozen (or exposed to ethylene gas).
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question
The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on February 12, 1999.
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