Dahlias forum: preparing dahlias for winter

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Name: david sevitt
jerusalem israel
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davidsevit
Oct 24, 2015 11:00 PM CST
frankies description of dahlias care for winter was incredibly clear......thank you....
but i wuold like to widen my knowledge...
1.does this descripion relate to dahlias i sowed at the begining of this spring and very kindly is not stopping to flower till now(israel)
2.i cut off dead flowers to induce more flowers.....is this the cutting you were talking about?we dont have any frost yet....
is it not related to the length of day?
3.you did not talk about powdering with any antifungicide......is it not neccesary?
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Oct 25, 2015 9:23 AM CST
My guess on #2 is he was saying to cut down the plants to a 4" stem after a frost. But if you don't get frosts?? How cold does it get there in the winter? Maybe you can leave them in the ground for a year or so.

#3. Some people do this , some do not. It is sort of a preventative, preemptive strike 'just in case' rot or fungus should strike. I didn't do it this year.

I didn't see Frank's original instructions so these are just guesses.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: david sevitt
jerusalem israel
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davidsevit
Oct 26, 2015 12:44 AM CST
thanks for your answer
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Oct 26, 2015 6:50 AM CST
@davidsevit
1. yes, process should work for any dahlia that has developed a storable sized tuber. Did you sow seed or plant tubers in the spring?
2. i cut the plants down to the ground after the first hard frost. During the growing season, I also deadhead.
3. I do not. Many do.

From what I can tell, you are in the equivalent of USDA Zone 8, and should not need to dig up your dahlias for winter storage.

Do you normally store your dahlias over the winter?
Name: david sevitt
jerusalem israel
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davidsevit
Oct 31, 2015 2:52 AM CST
ן i sowed seeds at the begining of the spring
this is my first time growing dahlias......i think it will rot in the ground in my outdoor container....
i suppose i should use the storing method with some straw or old towel
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Nov 10, 2015 12:55 PM CST
I just dug my Dahlias, and need to prep them for storage over winter. This is my first time with them. Can I wash the dirt off, or should I just clean them as best I can and let the dirt dry. I assume if I wash them that they need to be dried quite well for storage. My basement stays at about 55 degrees all winter, is that OK?
I was so surprised to see how many they grew into, and some are the size of sweet potatoes.

I had one that didn't grow any stems or leaves, but when I dug it, it looks just like when I planted it, firm and healthy, but no growth. What's up with that?
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Nov 10, 2015 2:57 PM CST
H Tom - Most people do wash off their Dahlias tubers. I have such sandy soil, that I can just brush them off, but if you have clay it will take some water - and yes- then dry them well before storage. 55 degrees is warmer than optimal for storage. 40 degrees is recommended. If there is a closet on an outside wall, and you can put them on the floor, that would be cooler. How dry or humid the area is also effects how well they store. Peatmoss or vermiculite are the the most common mediums to store them in. It will wick away "sweat" from the surface, but help them retain enough moisture. Apparently at Swan island Dahlias, they just layer them with newspaper. I actually wrap each tuber in saran wrap, after dusting it with cinnamon as an anti fungal. I am afraid it takes some trial and error to find what works best for each of us.

They multiply a lot faster than iris don't they? Sweet potato sized is unusual, but I have had a few get that big. They big ones do tend to store better. Tiny ones are difficult to keep from drying out to much.

As for a tuber that never sprouted, but is still healthy - I am flummoxed. I'd save it over and try it again in the spring. Usually if they don't sprout - they rot. I have a couple that sent up a small stalk, but never got over 12" and didn't bud out, but still look decent, that I will give another try.

Good luck with them.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Nov 10, 2015 6:33 PM CST
Thanks, I had one that grew tall and had buds, but we got frost before the buds opened. Do you break off the tubers for storage, or leave the whole clump in tact? I'm such a novas at this.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Nov 11, 2015 5:47 AM CST
Don't just break them off!

Here is a link to a good article on dividing. Some people prefer to store them whole and divide in the spring when the eyes on the tubers are easier to see, but I divide them in the fall. They take up a lot less room once they are divided,

http://garden.org/ideas/view/frankrichards16/2504/Digging-Di...

and here is another

http://cubits.org/Dahlias/articles/view/534/
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Nov 11, 2015 1:18 PM CST
How much cinnamon should I sprinkle on my tubers clumps. I pulled five out of the crawlspace and was amazed that they are just a little dry, far from rotting. But none show eyes well enough to cut them up. So I am going to sprinkle with cinnamon and put them back in their shopping bags (plastic) and loosely close them. We'll see how the next batch goes. Back into the dungeon.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Nov 11, 2015 1:22 PM CST
OK, I think I'll leave them whole until spring.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Nov 11, 2015 2:48 PM CST
Mostly looking good. I bagged all the Ice Berg together. BIG mistake. I am running into some rotten, mostly from leaving the stem on too long - time and length of stem. I am only about 1/2 way through. If I had not bagged the huge ones together it would have been better. I just got tired.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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pirl
Nov 11, 2015 2:56 PM CST
That's a good warning for everyone, Mary, thanks!

Just to give hope for spring, here are two tubers that looked hopeless (or worse), but they had sprouts. I planted them and AC Paint is huge and lush...even now. I'll probably dig next Monday through Wednesday (I'm slow).
Thumb of 2015-11-11/pirl/ce6f39 Thumb of 2015-11-11/pirl/855c3f

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Nov 11, 2015 3:01 PM CST
Those are indeed pretty puny tubers. I am amazed at how they grew. Gorgeous flowers. I meant to thank you Arlene for the idea of just putting clumps away in bags. I have envisioned rotting tubers as they were rather moist when they went down stairs, well some were. So I was amazed at how really good many of them look. I have eaten lunch and will continue to pull them up. Any ideas about the cinnamon thing? Like how much. @mandolls??

"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Nov 11, 2015 3:25 PM CST
No idea about the amount of cinnamon, Mary. Sorry!
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Nov 11, 2015 3:48 PM CST
Mary - What I did last year was take a gallon sized ziplock - add about 1 cup of vermiculite, and about 1/4 of a jar of cinnamon - then put in 4-6 tubers at a time and tossed them around, When the cinnamon coating on the tubers started looking light, I added more to the baggie. I went through about a jar and a half cinnamon for 400 or so tubers. I don't think that would work so well with whole clumps. I have heard of others just dusting any cut part of the tubers.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Nov 11, 2015 6:27 PM CST
Thanks Geoff. Will give it a try on the cut ends. I have ended up cutting more than I wanted to. Some tubers were just great, others not so great. Plenty of eyes but many started rotting at the stem and if it worked its way down to the tubers I had to cut them up.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: david sevitt
jerusalem israel
Image
davidsevit
Nov 11, 2015 11:38 PM CST
thanks to everyone for your tips i will make a synthesa of all yhe info
david
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Nov 12, 2015 10:06 AM CST
Good luck David. Thumbs up Thumbs up
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Nov 12, 2015 4:06 PM CST
Hello David, living in Jerusalem you might want to consider letting your tubers stay in ground over winter. If ground never freezes then they may well go for at least three seasons in a row. In my place I have tubers that have withstanded winter for three seasons (and longer). We have a Mediterranean climate like yours ( that is hot summers very dry and mild wetter winters, with perhaps five or six snowfalls durind winter). In origin dahlias of the Mexican plateau have wet summers and very dry winters. the exact oposite. The only risk may be if your soil is not sandy enough and winter water stays on your beds. Then your tubers might rot. Therefore you might want to lift your tubers only for multiplying your stock, or in case you want to ensure a particular cultivar. However if in the right growing condition then probably letting them rest where they grew the previous year/s might still be the best choice. All the best Arturo

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