When can I cut it off ?

Dahlonega, GA

I'll be leaving in a month while it's still warm and want to cut off an E E to take the bulb with me . I have always dug the bulbs after the first freeze and had good luck . This was gotten at a R U two years ago and it was a leftover . I lucked out when I took it , it's about nine foot tall and grows straight up , beautiful . The bulb is in a huge tub with two little ones coming out from the side . The bulb is about as big as a football . I dug it last year , cutting it off and digging up the first of November . I put it in a bucket with soil , it made the trip fine , transplanting it into a larger tub , bringing the whole thing back with me . It hadn't grown but about three foot all winter . When I got back here , it went into a huge tub and has grown out of site . When I take it back to TeX in a month , it will be put in a huge tub and taken in over the winter . It will freeze if left out .I kept it on the coast in south Texas but it will go to my son in Austin .
All this rambling but the question is , can I safely cut it back , dig and replant such a huge plant ?
Someone out there has more knowledge about it and I thank you .

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Digger, I am no expert on EE's as they sort of grow wild here, and keep their leaves all winter if it's not cold. But I do know about plants with bulbs a bit. I think you risk losing the plant if you suddenly cut all the leaves while it is in full-blast summer growth. Those leaves need to direct their energy into making a new bulb before the plant goes dormant.

Here's what I'd be inclined to do - see if you can "make" it start to go dormant. You have a month before you're moving so maybe bring it indoors to the a/c or the coolest place you can find. Water it sparingly with cooler and cooler water so it thinks the ground is cooling off etc. If it gradually dries and cools, the leaves will start dying back on their own, and it won't be so shocked when you cut it all the way back before your move.

Maybe another thing to do as insurance is see if you can separate the two little pups from the mother plant and pot them up in small pots separately. Then even if you do lose Mama, you have the pups to grow next year.

My EE got blown into the pool when TS Isaac went by last week, and put on a lot of yellow leaves from a couple of hours in that cool water. Let's hope you can simulate a cool weather event for your plant and make it slow down before you have to prune it.

Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy
Dahlonega, GA

Moving it into the house is out . It weighs a coupla hundred lbs . Everything else makes sense to me so will try all that We've had rain almost every day but can cover the tub so it can dry some . Haven't had to water in several weeks . I'll keep some ice water in the fridg . Thanks so much .

Niles, MI(Zone 5a)

Try this, I live in southwestern Michigan and the weather here is strange this year, early frost, then real warm weather, my EE didn't know whether it was coming or going, so I put icecubes on the top of the soil in the pot, did this for 5 days and the leaves started to die back. Now it is inside in a room that does not get much heat for the winter, but does not freeze. I have done this for 2 years and it comes back in the spring when I set it outside.

Dahlonega, GA

I watered it with ice water for a week and then had to lift it out of the pot . Sucessful and now it lives in south Texas . I also got the pup off the side and potted . It has a new home with a friend across the street in Tex . Thanks all .

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