Saving the Dahlia Tubers

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

We had an early season snow yesterday of 4" and now temps in the 20's this morn. Do you think I will be able to salvage my dahlia tubers that have not yet been lifted from my gardens? I surely hope they survive as they were gorgeous this year and I have had them for many years already. It is supposed to get up close to 50 this week and if the snow melts and I dig them, do you think they will still be okay?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts,
Candee

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Yes, they should be fine unless you cut them back already and open stems allowed the snow inside. Otherwise they should survive just fine. Many people wait two full weeks after a hard frost before digging.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Whew, thanks, I had not cut them back at all except for snipping flowers for arrangements.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

One year I cut them all back in preparation for the first frost in mid November and instead we got snow. I lost every one of them. Some lessons we learn the hard way!

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Oh I am so sorry what a huge loss. I hate to lose even a few tubers over the winter when saved in grocery bags.
I did go out and snip the blooms to save for a final arrangement, but no cutting of the main stems thank goodness.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

So pretty!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Really lovely. What is the steaked one called?

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks, no idea of the names, sorry, I am terrible at that!

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Puyallup, WA

Figured I would try and reboot this threat for the new year.

Anyone checking up on tubers? Now might be a good time to see how they've been overwintering, if you have then dug and stored. I pulled my box out of the garage, out of 25 or so wrapped tubers only one was mushy, and none of them had sprouted despite our warmer-than-usual December and January. Considering myself lucky so far.

How is everyone else faring?

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Well, now that you mention it, I should go take a peek! Thanks for bumping this up!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I should look, too.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Several rotten, many sprouting. Ordered more from aswan river tobreplace losses.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Mine are in a box layered in newspaper and if the first 2 layers are any indication, I am going to have dahlias out the wazoooooo this season as they are all firm and lovely!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Congrats. What temp and moisture are they stored in. I thinkmine were too green

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Not any moisture at all, as I said layered in newspapers. They are in an upstairs bedroom that gets no heat and no humidity this time of year so the temp is about 50.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Amazing.....thanks

Brigham City, UT(Zone 5b)

I just visited a wonderful gardening friend. She is the owner of Secrest Gardens in Brigham City. She is so knowledgeable and shares readily. She just gave me 3 different DP tubers. I saw the plants last year. They were so big and beautiful. I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR SPRING! I am jumping the gun in starting some seeds. It is my therapy.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Are we all spraying our dahlias as we await spring?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Uh, mine are in dirt right now. they insisted on growing. I took my first two cuttings yesterday and put them in the aero garden (minus tub and pump - just using lights).

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I think you're doing better in Alaska than the rest of us are!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yeah, but I have to hold them til at least the third week of May. Not good really.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

True. I hadn't thought of that.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I'll put mine in the beginning of May after fear of last (or in this year's case first) frost!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Same here.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I could set them out on the deck and just watch the weather like crazy til I can unpot and put in the ground. They are so delicate that they usually suffer breakage in the process. Maybe if I can get my DH to help me it would go better.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm debating on opening the bags for those I just bought and putting them in sunshine to start them on their journey.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I guess it depends on how far along sprouting they are. Seems like I read some where that it doesn't hurt them to knock off the early buds but that would make me nervous. What if there are no more eyes to grow. Will they regrow that eye. Seems risky to me.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I have read that if you knock off an eye another one will grow. I'm as chicken as you are.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

lol. Well, who will be the guinea pig. I will volunteer as I have several duplicate tubers so if it doesn't work, no big loss. I will let you know how it works.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

As soon as I clear off one bay window of plants I will put the new dahlias there and hopefully remember to tend them as they grow.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well poo. Messed up that reply. ahem...

Here is the dahlia volunteer for experimentation - sprout removal - before and after

'flats' of sprouting dahlias

Messy garage needing to be turned into annual greenhouse - must remove car first.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I heard you just put them in moist soil then leave them alone until they send up sprouts. By putting five or six or more if they will fit into deep 'flats' (actually drain trays from really big pots) I save dirt, pots, and labor and will only plant those that sprout and can pitch the rest. I also have two pots in the house, one tuber each, and two more with two tubers each growing as actual plants. It will be a long haul to spring

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

That makes sense. I understand the saving of soil, energy and time by pre-sprouting.

You inspired me enough that I removed all but one plant from the bay window in the master bedroom and now have all four bags (slit open) sitting there in the sunshine. Some already sprouted in the bags so I'm well on my way to my own adventure.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I don't imagine that you can plant out til at the earliest mid-may? New York gets both very cold and very hot if I understand correctly. Two extremes. Like Fairbanks, Alaska. Down to -55 and up to +90.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Since the dahlias love warm soil I don't plant them out until we put the tomatoes out and that's late May.

We are way out east on Long Island so we don't have the problems other New Yorkers have.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Sounds about like us in a way. We are somewhat warmed by our proximity to the inlet that gets some of the Japanese current. Let's hear it for microclimates.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I often put mine in pots and then bury the pots. Makes them easier to pull in the fall. Not sure how I'll do them this year, but will put them in sometime in May.

Wilmington, NC(Zone 8a)

Geez, we have to grow tomatoes in 2 seasons in our zone (an early spring and late summer season). Do you think I should tend to my dahlias in waves also? Maybe plant half in April, and save half for August?

Wilmington, NC(Zone 8a)

Quote from haighr :
I often put mine in pots and then bury the pots. Makes them easier to pull in the fall. Not sure how I'll do them this year, but will put them in sometime in May.

This sounds like good idea. I'm going to do this this year. Lord knows I have enough pots.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Great news, only lost about 3 from the entire box! They are sprouting and will begin planting today!

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