Dahlias forum: Is it OK to cut dahlia's before they freeze?

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Name: Marie
Brigham City, Utah (Zone 5b)
Cottage Gardener Dahlias Hibiscus Region: Utah
Oct 26, 2016 8:12 PM CST
Our fall has been just wonderful and my dahlia's are blooming so beautifully. I want to put compost in the flower beds this fall. The compost plant is closing on November 10th. I would like to have my flower beds all ready with compost and turning the soil by around then. That means I would have to cut them down now and dig next week.
The other thing I could do is bring the compost into the yard, pile it up and spread it later.
Please help.
I have several of these, most are over 5' tall with 6" blooms,.
Thumb of 2016-10-27/MyRee/841241

Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Oct 27, 2016 5:12 AM CST
The short answer is, yes you can cut/dig them before a frost.

I had to dig mine in September one year as I was going to be out of the country for 3-4 months. There were no problems.

The standard timing is to wait until frost - mostly because everyone wants every bloom they can have. Its is also recommended to wait and dig two weeks after you cut them, but this is only so that they will have a chance to form new eyes as they try to regrow - so that when you divide them it is easier to see where to divide.

I have never been able to see new eyes forming after that two week period anyway. I think in my zone, once it frosts, it is just to cold for the tubers to even think about eying up again.

It hasn't frosted here yet either, but I think I'll start digging next week whether it frosts or not.
Name: Dan
NE Ohio (Zone 6a)
Oct 27, 2016 8:57 AM CST
I'm in somewhat of a dilemma myself. I'm not quite ready to dig the dahlias, yet I need some of them out of the way so I can use the beds for iris. I'm sure I should have had the iris in the ground already so they could have become established before cold weather. Our temps are forecast to fluctuate in the next week with a couple days of 70 or above. I have no idea where I'd keep the tubers if I dig them now as warm as it will be. I thought about digging up an area in the backyard bed to bury the clumps in temporarily. But I doubt dahlias like being uprooted and replanted. Decisions, decisions!
Name: Marie
Brigham City, Utah (Zone 5b)
Cottage Gardener Dahlias Hibiscus Region: Utah
Oct 27, 2016 9:06 AM CST
Thank You Thank You! I have other things I need to cut down so I will do those first, but I will get to my dahlia's in the next few days. I am bringing truck loads (2 yards each) of compost into the gardens. I have already brought 6 loads in. I need at least that many more and the weather is going to turn cold pretty fast I think. I should have another week without frost.
We all are going to be pretty busy digging I think.
Name: Marie
Brigham City, Utah (Zone 5b)
Cottage Gardener Dahlias Hibiscus Region: Utah
Oct 27, 2016 9:13 AM CST
I got 3 large box's that is over 3' by 3' by almost 3' and am going to layer my dahlias, The boxes go in my garage for the winter. I have a perlite factory just 50 miles away so I bought 8 of the 4 cubic feet bags to store the dahlia's in. I sure hope this works.
Dan, I love iris, they are beautiful in the spring, and take almost no care, but are so short lived. I love my color in the fall, but the work is immense.
Have a great day. I am off to the yard.

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