Dahlia Staking

Brownsboro, AL(Zone 7a)

I know this is a popular subject for discussion and I have read some comments on staking but I haven't figured out how to solve my problem.

Right now I have about 15 dahlias which are about a foot tall. When I planted the tubers I placed a wooden stake next to each planting to mark where a more substantial stake would be placed later. In the past I had used these skinny stakes purchased from Lowes but as the plants grew the stakes were not able to handle the plant size and tilted, fell over, etc.

This year, based on a discussion here, I decided to use rebar. However when I went to Lowes and Home Depot I found that I had to purchase 10' lengths and then cut them down (however one does that) to get the height I needed. However, the price is $10.00 per "pole" which comes to $150 for my fifteen plants and I end up throwing away 3 to 4 feet of rebar for each plant. My dahlias continue to grow without any support. I would appreciate your suggestions.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Can't you just cut the 10' in half, or exactly how tall are your dahlias expected to get? I think a 5' pole would be ample to support most dahlias.

At those prices I wouldn't be throwing away any 3-4 foot lengths. Use them on shorter plants, if you can. Hack saw will work to cut the rebar.

Good ole 1" wood stakes are inexpensive and won't last forever, but they're easy and good for a few seasons anyway. Even 4-5 ft metal Tposts would be cheaper and less work for you.

Brownsboro, AL(Zone 7a)

Thanks Poochella for the response. I didn't think the 10' rebar cut in half would be long enough after putting it into the ground. I'll give it a try. I find 15 tposts for me to be too unattractive as it begins to look like I'm growing them and not dahlias. :)

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

That is true: the "stake/post farm" is not an attractive thing, but they disappear in no time. You are smart to mark where the post goes. I used chopsticks one year until I could get more stakes :) Whatever works...

North Pole, AK(Zone 1)

I use a plastic coated, steel reinforced stake that Lowes, H. Depot and perhaps some of your local garden centers have. They are available in 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 foot lengths, attractive, durable/strong and weather resistant. They are flat on one end and pointed on the other for ease of getting into the soil and have notches along their length to keep vines or ties from slipping.

Couldn't find a real clear picture of them, but if you search "plastic coated steel stakes" or "coated garden stakes", you'll get several pics to get the idea. Cost up here is about $1.75 -$2.00 for the 4' ones, so I'm guessing they sgould be less in the lower 48. I purchased them the first time last year when my bamboo stakes rotted. I bought about 75 more this year for all my staking needs. (Lilies, dahlias, delphiniums, etc.)

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Something like this?

http://www.gardenersedge.com/subcat.cgi?Cat=DISPL&wwparam=1272927220

North Pole, AK(Zone 1)

Yes...Slightly different, but basically, that's them. I love 'em!

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Jeff in case you are still looking for stakes, I ordered some of these http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=206888870&listingid=46237290 I needed quite a few and they were almost 3 bucks at my Lowes! Great price here even with shipping!

Brownsboro, AL(Zone 7a)

Thank you for the suggestion. I plan to order some.

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Oh your welcome.

Port Sanilac, MI

I saw the coated steel posts yesterday at a nursery but thought they wouldn't be strong (large) enough to hold the larger dahlias; was I wrong?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

They were not strong enough in that when I pushed them into the earth they bent at about the one foot from the bottom mark. Though I didn't want rebar it's what I now have. They may not be beautiful but they are strong and dependable and that's more important to me.

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 5b)

Err, they bent when you did nothing but put them in the ground?? That's definitely not a good sign..

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Yes, they did. Even Annie (Poochella) mentioned it just yesterday on another thread. She's had it happen as well.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Yeah but I was holding mine up too high trying to jam it into a rock! A wooden stake would have broken too, the way I was leaning on it. If you hold them at a lower center of gravity and avoid rocks/clay, these stakes would likely hold up to the average dahlia well enough.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I tried using them long before I grew dahlias and they constantly broke.

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Oh Poo!

North Pole, AK(Zone 1)

There must be a wide range of quality in these plastic-coated steel stakes. I have a few hundred, the originals going into their 4th summer and have never bent one. I have some that get hammered into the ground so I can put plastic coated fencing around them to corral 8' delphiniums. Three years of hammering and they are fine. They hit bedrock or permafrost and just "stop", but they don't bend. I've forced 6' ones into the ground to reinforce a metal trellis that wants to lean....AND, DH has had them for three years (year round) on some 4' peas shrubs that started out at 6 inches. The moose eat the shrubs in the winter, so they squeeze in between and wreck the bushes, but the stakes are still absolutely perfect in the spring.

I've got 4', 5', 6' and 8'. Purchased at Lowe's, HDepot, Fred Meyer's and a local greenhouse so they aren't all the same brand...I don't know what you're all doing with them, but I'll not be lending you mine, lest you make pretzels out of them. They survive moose, but not those tough Lower 48 gardeners.....LOL

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

LOL is right! Maybe I'm too reckless.

There are many different grades of these stakes so I must have gotten the wimpy ones.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

I got a wimpy one, but only because I treated it in a moose-like fashion.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Quote from Poochella :
I got a wimpy one, but only because I treated it in a moose-like fashion.


Methinks the mountain lions probably sat on it.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

X nay on the mountain lions! I am on constant watch for them, even though I've only seen one; they are quiet, shy, and stealthy. Here's our newest wildlife visitor. So weird: we're in the middle of wildthing habitat central and in 20 years this is only the second raccoon we've seen here. I hope they don't like tubers!

Nice duct tape on our feeder! LOL- the bear gashed a big hole in it trying to get some protein one night.

Thumbnail by Poochella
Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I had racoons in Vancouver BC and nere a dahlia they touched. Those would be citified racoons though.

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

We used to have a pet raccoon...that's what I get for birthin boys!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

We've had deer attack feeders and destroy plants in doing so. I have no love for the deer.

For the few racoons and possums we've had they don't show any taste for tubers.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

You remind me to get the Liquid Fence ready for the perennial bed, Pirl. I've noticed a few nipped ends off some dogwoods already. Right now, we've got rival gangs of two kinds grosbeaks fighting for the feeders and three cats lined up at the sliding door having facial seizures.

Ronnie, did your boys get the raccoon as a kitten/ baby? I think raccoons are so cute, but I know the adults can be extremely dangerous being wild things with teeth and claws. We're going to make shaker cans to try to scare him away before trouble with the dog gets a chance to erupt.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

"facial seizures" - hysterical.

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Yes Pooch, a tiny kitten with no teeth and bottle fed....then he grew up! Ouch, very territorial to say the least...great during the day but sooo bad at night. Friendly but don't even think about going near is cage. Once we knew his hormones were kicking in we set him free in the woods. I was afraid he would bite someone, he had shots but sooner or later he would have bit someone besides me...big trouble I am sure. His name was Shadow....litter box trained just like a cat. It's easy in PA to get an exotic animal licence...what a shame that people can do that and make money. Two dumb teenagers were rooked out of 300 bucks! Oh I could have rung their necks!

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

I bet Shadow was very cute until he became Super Shadow- Nocturnal Hormonal Marauder. Re the price of a cute pet; well at least you know you raised kids with a love of animals and a taste for something out of the ordinary. I think $300 worth of valuable life lessons and treasured memories might have been purchased along with Shadow. Next time I see our masked visitor, I'll call him 'Shadow' and see if he trekked west LOL!

On a progress note: My D.I. is sprouting multiple sprouts down in the greenhouse and I'm super excited to watch it coming along, thanks to you!

(Ronnie), PA(Zone 6b)

Yes the memories were so worth it! Glad to here you DI is coming along OK. Mine is too slow but sure.

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 10a)

Can someone describe a facial seizure please?

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Impossible to describe: a video is worth 1000 words. Every muscle, every cell, every neuron, taking in the target, unable to resist commentary,and preparing the feline for the hunt...even if it's from behind glass.

A good example of the feline facial seizure. This cat has a very unique eye color.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYxDM1BQoOw&feature=related

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 10a)

Yay!!! I love chattering, aka facially seizing! Sooper cute!

This one's cute, too. Love the wagging nub.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jQClCADt3s&feature=related

This message was edited May 21, 2010 5:03 PM

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Cute tail indeed- almost like a happy dog.
Dahlia season has come to a rainy halt here- bummer! I swear it felt like snow on the breeze this a.m. but it really was up to 42 with 2 new inches of rain to, ahem, water in the dahlias already planted really well. Did I mention the spats of small hail? All are still upright with no visible shivering, but c'mon!

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Pooch evil Jack is stalking about here tonight I have moved some babys back into the greenhouse. Some have joined me in my office where (an annual tradition) we will sing and dance all night and make funny faces out the windows at Jack. We SO laugh at Jack. Hope the spats are shoes.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Too cute.

It was too hot here today so I worked in the shade while the dahlias wait downstairs for a forecast of several rainy days. If that doesn't happen I guess they'll wear newspaper caps for a while.

A friend down south mentioned an area near him had grapefruit sized hail. It's good that he doesn't grow dahlias.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

:O sending healing thoughts to your friend dear pirl. Bummer even if not a dahliaholic.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

He didn't get it but some area around him did get hit. I've never seen hail that large.

West Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6b)

Grapefruit?! Wow, that's horrible! The record I believe was in Nebraska in 2003, a 7 inch hailstone the size of a soccer ball was recovered. I didn't know such things existed.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Ping pong ball size is about the max I've seen in the Midwest. Out here we max out at pea size. Grapefruit or soccer ball size and I'd have to get a cement umbrella!

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