Why are we supposed to remove the bottom leaves on dahlias?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I've done two Advanced Searches and can't find the explanation.

Long Branch, NJ(Zone 7a)

The reason(s) I could think off, is to promote air circulation, thus helping in preventing mildew and other fungal diseases.

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

look at this link and scroll down to May. I didn't know this and I didn't do it. Maybe I will walk out in the 90+ weather and take care of this, NOT!
http://www.sfdahlia.org/how.to.grow/calendar/calendar.htm

This message was edited Jul 11, 2010 10:38 AM

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Tex. That makes sense though I'm sure there's another reason.

Thanks, Nery. It did say to remove the lower leaves but gave no explanation.

Just went through pages of Poochella and BigcityAl's threads and couldn't find a thing about it.

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

i thought it said the reason was to make it busher, though I don't see how the removal of lower leaves would contribute. Mind you, I broke my glasses and I'm having a little trouble reading....

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

To make it bushier the growing tip is pinched thereby "breaking the apical dominance" - giving two growing points instead of one.

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

you are right! I went and reread and doesn't say reason for removal of bottom leaves. I need my glasses.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Ya what Tex said. I read that somewhere but I can't remember where.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, D'nut.

So how far up do you remove them?

Long Branch, NJ(Zone 7a)

Depending how tall your dahlias are or how close you planted them, I'll give a clearance of 12-18 inches.

I also do this to other plants/perennials as I just pack everything so close. Also gives them a tidier appearance.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I don't worry too much about other perennials cuz its so dry.

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

I asked this question some time back too, Pirl, and promotion of air circulation was the only reason I recall. I've never done it, and have never had any issues. My garden is pretty crowded, but I typically just stick Dahlias here and there throughout the garden beds and not all together, so maybe that helps keep pathogens from jumping from one plant to the next. Dahlias just seem to like growing here, perhaps its more important in some areas of the country than others?

Northeast, IL(Zone 5b)

I've been removing the lower leaves of my dahlias as they start looking scruffy. Never knew it was something we're "supposed" to do, it just becomes a necessity, haha! Mine are all in pots, grouped together on the patio where I can keep an eye on them.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

The answer came from Poochella who said we remove the leaves (as said above) for better air circulation, to help prevent mildew and in order to get watering wands in to water the dahlias.

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