Cutting Back Rhubarb - Knowledgebase Question

Carson, WA
Avatar for VLedbeter
Question by VLedbeter
September 7, 1999
I have a new rhubarb plant that I don't know what to do with this fall. Do I cut it back or let the stems and leaves naturally shrivel up? I was told not to eat it the first year so I didn't.

Answer from NGA
September 7, 1999
It's always a good idea to let a new rhubarb plant grow the first year without being harvested. This provides nutrients to the crown of the plant, helping it to grow strong and healthy. Next year you can begin to harvest a few stalks by pulling (never cutting) from the plant. For now, allow the leaves and stalks to naturally wither and die, then remove them from the garden so they won't harbor any insects or diseases that might attack your plants during the winter and early spring months. You can place an organic mulch over the crown of your rhubarb plant to help protect it from winter weather. In the very early spring gently remove the mulch material before new leaves begin to sprout.

Hope you enjoy your rhubarb harvest!

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