Search
Generic filters
Search in title
Search in content
Filter by Custom Post Type
Products
Pages
Posts
Filter by Product Categories
Tulips
All Tulips
Tulip Blends
Tulip Singles
Wild Tulips
Cubed Blends
Squared Blends
BedSpreads®
Perennial Tulips
Darwin Hybrids
Double Tulips
Daffodils
All Daffodils
Daffodils for Naturalizing
Gold Standard Daffodils
Daffodil Blends
Double Daffodils
Uncommon Daffodils
Miniature Daffodils
Budget Daffodils
Fragrant Daffodils
Daffodils for the South
Jonquils
Hyacinths
Alliums
Specialty Bulbs
Crocuses
Grape Hyacinths
Other Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Indoor Bulbs
Amaryllises
Paperwhites
Planting Tools
Browse by Bloom Time
Very Early
Early
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Very Late
Browse by Color
Yellow
Apricot
Orange
Red
Pink
Purple
Lavender
Blue
Green
Cream
White
Maroon
Paperwhites
Bulbs for the South
Web Only Bulbs
Bulbs for Cutting
New This Fall
Deer Resistant Bulbs
Bulbs for Naturalizing
Rodent Resistant
Apparel
Shade Tolerant Bulbs
All Bulbs

Colorblends / Bulb Articles / Off With Their Heads!

Bulb Articles

Off With Their Heads!

A kopmachine looks like a lawn mower on stilts. It is designed to cut and remove tulip flowers. If left in place, the flowers take energy that would otherwise go to the bulbs.

When tulips start to bloom in the fields, Dutch bulb growers do their best to cut off the flowers as quickly as possible. That’s because the flowers take energy from the bulbs below, preventing them from growing to top size. A grower lets his fields bloom just long enough to cull plants that are unhealthy or not the correct variety. After that, he brings out a kopmachine (beheading machine) like the one pictured above.

The kopmachine gets most of the flowers but not all of them. The grower sets the blades as low as possible to cut as many flowers as possible without harming the foliage. The leaves are the food factories for the bulbs; the last thing the grower wants to do is cut the leaves. So flowers below the reach of the blades survive.

The kopmachine gets most but not all of the tulip flowers. Workers lying on special trailers or self-propelled machines reach down and snap off the rest.

But the grower isn’t satisfied with “most.” He wants every last flower removed from his fields. He can ask his workers to walk between the rows and snap off the remaining flowers, but that is time-consuming and back-breaking work. Instead, he may employ another contraption that, so far as we know, does not have a special name. It is basically a trailer (sometimes a self-propelled machine) that is designed to suspend people, who are lying on their stomachs, just above the tulip leaves. As workers pass over the rows, they reach down and break off all the flowers the kopmachine missed.

The efficiency of the beheading operation is nothing if not remarkable. A field that is a riot of color one day may be reduced to a carpet of blue-green leaves the next. And the grower couldn’t be happier.

 

Top-quality bulbs of the best varieties. Reserve now for fall delivery.