GRITDIG Part Five

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

I hope this is ok to start another ; my daughter is here today and she is the computer genius. I am so helpless when it comes to this stuff. She helped me take some photos and save them in the computer. Thanks,Katy.

Janet you asked to see my 'tree' and so here it is. It is getting a bit hard to measure but the nearest I could figure was 153 inches.

Thumbnail by Lenjo
Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

By the way, the ladder is a 10 foot one in the previous photo. We rigged up a piece of PVC that was 15 feet 4 inches tall. And marked off the last 5 one foot increments. But you really can't see any of that in this photo.

Thumbnail by Lenjo
Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

And lastly, I just can't believe how much bigger the stalk itself is this year. I will need an axe or chainsaw to cut it down after frost. To think that all this growth is just from this season. Incredible!!!!!

Thumbnail by Lenjo
Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Sorry, that wasn't the last, this one is I promise. This just gives you some perspective how big this sucker gets. I have a new birch tree in this bed and there is eupatorium, Joe Pye Weed next to the dahlia which is a large specimen plant.

Thumbnail by Lenjo
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Wow! 12' 9"!!!

Just wait until next year! 3" stems, and looks to be plenty of them too!

What will another month of growing do for it, you just might get to 15'!!! When would you normally get your first frost?

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Middle to late October and sometimes even later. With the regular dahlias, the wet rain can mess them up more often than a hard freeze it seems.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Sounds the same as us! Mid October last year, plenty of frosts. 4 frosts only the year before and not until very late.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

You know Janet, it might have used all the nutrients in the soil this year and turn out to be a wimpy plant next year. LOL But I would wonder how much nutrients are taken from the tuber? It would seem they are just getting bigger and more of them down there in the soil. I should consider trying to dig it up. What a job. Last year I actually didn't cut off the stalks after frost. I just let them stand there with the hopes that it would keep the water away from the tubers in the ground and I thought I could possibly stake this year to last year's stalks but as you can see and as you know from your own plant they are really tough and strong and don't seem to need staking.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Wowsers: wonderful shots there Lenjo. That is one mighty tree and I love the Joe Pye if that's the big bloomer to the lower right of the ladder. And the Birch tree too. Can't beat that birch bark for brightness in winter.

The stems on your DI look like a tropical jungle plant! I know I am going to pepper you with questions about how to care for it in November or so. I will have to take mine out of the whiskey barrel for sure- it is subject to cold temps here and might freeze for sure.

Can one assume that new tubers are forming and taking up new nutrients throughout the season if the plant is fed a bit, while the old ones might be depleted?

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Annie, I would leave it the barrel of course till frost and then just make darn sure you store it somewhere you can be assured it won't freeze. The first year I ever had mine, I planted it into the ground but it didn't get too awfully big but I had this brainstorm of putting into a fiber/ pulp pot and starting it growing early by putting it into the greenhouse. And then I put the whole thing into the ground once I knew it wouldn't freeze anymore tearing off the pulp pot and setting it into the large hole I had dug. I think this was the process I went through in the summer of '05. And then I left it in the ground. So this is its second year in this location.

Carol, I gave you one of those big pulp pots. Did you plant your DI into it?

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

I won't want to cut mine down, but I know I have to. It will be cozy insulated in my tuber room kept at a balmy 35 degrees or higher. I saved Dr. Don's shavings he mailed in, so I will use those and whatever else I can think of to maintain moisture and some insulation.

I just hope we don't get a freakish freeze and the D Imp turns into tall spinach overnight. That would break my heart!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Pooch, I left mine in the garage where it had some light from south facing windows, in the large plastic pot you saw in it's early days. I just piled a little more compost up around the middle for protection, kept it slightly moist but really didn't need to water over winter. We had many frosts to -5, -7, -9C, and a very long, cold winter, 6 months!

I started to give it a very small amount once the weather warmed a little which wasn't until very late this year. It wasn't over tall as I got it late in 04 and 05 was a cold summer so didn't need to cut any off, it was hitting the tallest part of the roof, but you will have to take some off!

If you leave a few feet of stem it should give some protection, the hard parts at the bottom should get through a reasonable winter under cover and you could cut them off when it starts to grow, that's what I did. Lay a length with 2 node rings on it's side just under the surface, cut with at least 1/2" either end of the rings, that's where it roots from, the cut part, and the new growth comes from the nodes. The hard stems on mine were still green inside, but hollow.

You might be lucky if there is a freakish freeze, being next to the house will give some protection. We had a -5C on 16th Oct last year, was hoping for a milder autumn this year but at the moment things are turning very cold, fingers crossed!

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Yes, Joann, you did give me a fiber pot. No, it is not planted in it. It is in the ground.
Am not sure on what I am going to do tho I am thinking of just mulching (with good old smelling mint compost) mine very good and putting a plastic cover around it too. Or even maybe like chicken wire with mulch around it instead. It is on the edge of the retaining wall so could get more cold than in the regular garden area.
I am not going to even attempt to dig it. If anything, I will just maybe take a cutting next year and transplant it into the front yard. To have a nice tree there.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Thought you guys would like to see my base stem/stalk. Compared it to the main stalk/stem that came from DrDon, there in the front all brown.
The stems/stalks in the background and to the left are 2 1/2"+. I can't believe how thick they are!
My tree is still putting out new shoots on top. Tho it is looking funny now. It is more or less just one main stem/stalk going up. No more side shoots really. Both of the main stalks are doing this.
So am wondering if it is getting ready to make flowers??? Sure hope so!!!

Thumbnail by daisyruffles
Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, Carol. I am simply amazed at large those stalks get!

Holualoa, HI(Zone 11)

Please post pix when she blooms! Wow! What did you feed her? I thought things grew big in Hawaii - this beats all.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I think they are supposed to start budding in early November, but this has been a strange year!

Mine seems to be starting to race again with the weather cooling down a lot, we have had days 60F or just under and the biggest cutting grown one has shot up by a few inches all of a sudden! Hope for a good surge yet!

anuinhawaii, there are 4 previous threads to this, here's a link so you can get some more info on these

http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/638824/

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Anuinhawaii, do you have pics of dahlia trees from your state, Hawaii?
I was over there in May and never saw any, but..... there was so much green foilage that I could have missed them too. Tho never saw the blooms and do know what they look like due to seeing the real pictures last year here on DG.
Yep, Mendy, it is unreal on how large the stalks got/are. If I had known how it would have grown, I would have planted it in the front yard. Well, live and learn.

Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

There's always next year. How's your front yard coming anyway?

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh, you are so right, Mendy. I think you can grow the dahlia tree. You could put it on the west side of your house and it could maybe shade your bedroom?

You should come by. It is coming along very nicely, if I can say so myself. I have it all figured out. As you can see in the pic. I need to start a thread showing the progress.
The back lawn is actually coming up finally! Geez, with this weather, no rain, it has been a struggle to get it going. Didn't want to pay to water the darn thing up!

Thumbnail by daisyruffles
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

That looks great Carol! Well, I can see it taking form, looks like a lotta work!

Perhaps you could designate a space for your D.i. for next year? Leave plenty of space! You will have everyone slowing up to gasp and look at it!

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Wonderful layout Carol. You sure are a worker bee. Where are your buckets????? You can't garden without an ugly cat litter bucket or 5 dotting the landscape LOL!

If I lived in Albany, I would already pull up and gasp driving by that yard. Well done.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

LOL Annie, no buckets. I put them away after deadheading each time. I can't stand my junk around. I keep tripping over that stuff, LOL
That would be a good new idea tho. Make a cover/disguise for gardening buckets all around the yard!

Janet, I am making new beds all around the front. Need to decide where I can afford the shade tho.
My lovely dahlias like sun, LOL Tho am thinking about doing a few more in the shade that seem to like the cooler/shady/not so sunburn types.
But thanks guys. It has been a lot of work but somewhat refreshing tho. Each year, I have needed a spot to put my dahlia stalks/compost each late fall, and so far, they have found their spots in a more or less lasagna beds. That is what I am doing here in the front yard. So hope it will be composted good by next spring.

Any blooms on you guys trees? Any possible signs of them???

Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh, yes, I'm definitely going to try one next year. We already have that huge weeping willow that shades the west side of the house though.....if fact I think that is why the dahlias close to it don't do so well. I think they are getting more shade that I thought they would.

Your front garden looks great! Maybe I can get by there sometime this week. I'll let you know.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Carol, wonderful, wonderful. your front garden will be a showplace I am sure. You are an inspiration.

I see NO signs of any thing resembling a bloom. I am pessimistic, I just don't think our season is quite long enough.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

OKAY GUYS!
IS THIS IT! Is this a bloom???????
Please tell me it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have them all over the tree looking like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is very hard to get a picture tho. The blooms? are so high up and facing the sky so....................

So who is the experience one????
Tell me it is true! I need some good news today!!! LOL

Thumbnail by daisyruffles
Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Here is another pic of me trying to hold it toward the camera, LOL

Thumbnail by daisyruffles
Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

This was taken on Oct. 7th. I forgot to post it.
Need to get a pic of it now tho.

Thumbnail by daisyruffles
Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Another one. Is kind of dark, sorry.

Thumbnail by daisyruffles
Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Call the Budman! THAT is a bud. I have no experience with buds on D. Imperialis, but look at that first photo... it's a bud! It looks like a bud. It's shaped differently than any leaves unfurling; gotta be a bud! (Oh how I hope you don't win the autographed photo of Dahlia the dog for this LOL.) But congratulations on pulling off a near miracle in a northern climate Carol! Way to go girl!

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks, Annie.
But....................
We still have to see how it goes, you know.
We are to be sunny tomorrow and then rain for a bit so.......................
I was looking at it the other day and saw nothing.
But today, I saw something different and it sure looked different when I really started to look up close!
Check your tree tomorrow morning and see if your looks the same.

But an autograph pic, sure, I love dogs, LOL

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

How on earth did you get up there to take that first photo? If I have time, I'll be up on the roof today scouting for new developments, maybe should clean the gutters too- ick. It is colder up here, so I'm not optimistic for buds. I think Lenjo and I are in heat challenged areas.

Can't wait to see what your new growth produces.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

You have to remember I am only 5' tall.
So I just kind of stood up tall and reached for a lower branch. Wasn't easy. I guess I could have gotten a ladder out but not much level ground to put it on.
It is to be nice tho the end of the week so.................
I am thinking that the nicer weather, no rain, and freezing might bring on some blooms for you guys too.
I sure hope so. It would be so cool for all of us to get at least some blooms on the gorgeous tree!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Well I'll be darned, flowers means a winner I think! They should open with any luck, here's hoping you don't get any frosts for a while!

I can't see any sign of flowers on mine, I wonder what are the deciding factors. I suppose it's like any plant, some will flower sooner than others. I wonder if the stem thickness has helped, age of plant, but Lenjo's is thick, will Lenjo get flowers too? Have a look!

The weather here is suiting my plants, now it's much cooler they are racing away. Days around 60F, nights around 50F. Many days like today 100% humidity, the sun struggles to come out and slinks back. Dahlias like this humidity and cool.

I'm counting the bicks, it looks 44 bircks high in the pic but when I stand at the side view I think it's more like 41 bricks. I took the pic from a higher point on the bank but the height is still deceiving unless up there!

3.25" per brick with filler, I checked 4 bricks and it was 13". At 41 that's 10 x 13" + 3.25", a grand total of 133.25" or thereabouts. Over 11'!

The brick with the drainage pipe is #36.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

The biggest cutting baby is now shooting sky high too! It measures 97", not including the pot. I'm tempted to put it in the ground, first find a place. I think the roots would get a hold now, it's supposed to remain pretty much the same for the next 10 days.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Boy, Janet, yours is so tall!
Well, you will never know until it happens tho. You could still get blooms.
The big ordeal is that freezing weather. So far, so good here. Only suppose to go to the high 30's by the weekend, so.................
Shall see.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Ok all, yes, they sure are blooms. I almost see some purple/pink on the end of bud.
But I will warn you guys tho.
When I went to take the picture of the bud, I had to lean the branch down a bit. I thought I had felt a snap (mind you, I wasn't wearing my hearing aid so don't know if it really sounded like anything), so I looked carefully and didn't see anything.
Well, today that branch was on its way downward for sure. At the base of the stem against the main stalk, it was brown and broken.
Apparently, I had broken it.
I barely and I mean barely lowered the branch for that pic!!!
So what I am saying, I think these new shoots with the buds on them are very, very fragile. So watch out!!!
But now I do see quite a few buds all over the tree!
If we get a huge wind storm tho........................ I can see them snapping off for sure.
I did bungy (sp?) cord the main stalk to the white posts the other day. But I won't be able to hold onto all the other branches with the actual buds, no way.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I see now, you have lots of side branches, and they produce flowers! Mine hasn't any of those, only tiny non-starters.

Such a shame you broke it, but there looks to be plenty of them. I find if I stake something I'm trying to protect from the wind it pulls against the tie and breaks anyway! Your main stem should be strong enough though.

It's supposed to be shortening days that triggers flowering, and days are sure getting shorter. Here's hoping...

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Oh Carol, no fair that the branch broke! I bet your jaw just dropped, so sorry. Good advice on handling with care, thanks. Can't see anything here yet, but I'm looking at the new growth points with interest. This weekend is to be nice here, maybe in OR too and you'll get your blooms!

I don't have one main stalk/leaf node junction growth that is bigger than two inches, if that, tall. Just a gangly old budless beast LOL.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Yep, you should have seen my face! It was kind of in shock!
These new shoots are the ones the buds are on. Not any of the old stems/shoots/branches. Is very interesting on how they are forming. Will try to take more pics tomorrow so you poor guys can see, LOL
Just razzing you guys tho, really.

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