I was lucky enough to receive several of Tod's dahlias and immediately planted them. Several Internet sites say that you should not water the tubers but that if you live in a "hot" area you can lightly sprinkle them.
Of course, I followed the directions and it has thunder stormed and rained each afternoon for four days. What is the logic behind not watering them and will the storms damage the tubers?
I don't know if its enough to damage them - was there a lot of cumulative rain, or was it what we see up here now, short and heavy rain? If your drainage is good it will help. I think the logic is that the tuber will put out a better root system if its kept dry, as it will have to send out lots of roots to look for water. If it remains water-logged, it has an ample supply and doesn't have to do that. The result is the plant may not deal with heat as well. Also, if the tuber is standing in water too long it can rot.
I used the umbrella defense this year, you know if you carry an umbrella it is less likely to rain. After two consecutive Junes of constant rain (last year was the worst in recorded history) I covered them with row covers, and voila, the rain is much less. :)
Thanks Tod. The rain is typical for this time of year in northern Alabama. The thunder and rain come in late in the afternoon and rain, sometimes hard up to two hours. Fortunately, I have good drainage and taking your general advice have placed a closed umbrella in the garden to ward off inclement weather.
How did your tubers hold up Jeff? I didn't chime in on this one because Ihave a terrible time with rot, here. When it rains, even just once, the rot pretty easily. Last week, it rained overnight and by the time I got to them at 6pm the next day, I had lost about 1/3 to rot. Boohiss.
I was just thinking about the rain we have had rain for the most part every day since I planted mine (first timer) there growing and I have good drainage but I'm nervous that they will rot I hope it stops or at least slows down soon ;0(
You don't have to be as nuts as me-but, when it rained many times after I had just planted, I did dig them up a little. Not the whole way, for the ones that had rooted nicely or sprouted. But, I did aerate the soil a little, add some dry stuff in, etc. That did help me. But, then again, if it's just going to rain again, what's the point lol. I just got nuts and was checking on them all the time back a few months ago-I was stalking them. Good luck, let us know what happened.
I made the mistake of really going nuts this year, I bought row covers and wire supports to protect them from the potential rain, which then was almost nothing. They had slits for ventilation, you would think that's enough as far as aeration. Everyone who saw them thought they would be too hot underneath, but I think it was the opposite. You know how the sprout comes up super-quick when its hot out, many just sat not coming up. I removed the covers, and voila, they started coming up almost immediately. I'm also wondering if there just was not enough air circulation to suit them. Sometimes I think doing less is more!
I was out in the garden today since it rained hard yesterday afternoon with wind. I was putting back up half of my cornstalks which had blown over. Out of the 10 dahlias I planted, 6 have broken the surface so far. I'm closely watching the other four. We re still getting heavy rain almost every afternoon.