GRITDIG 2007 The Competition begins!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

OK, I know Lenjo will have taller stems than these, mine in the greenhouse are racing away , they must have trebled in size yesterday.

This is last years competition plant which had 3 stems, in this pic you can see 4 but there is another 3 on the other side, one has been nibbled through by a slug/snail. There could be more, there is a lush self-set Delosperma covering the others giving cover to slimy creatures in the night (no, I don't mean contestants!). This is going to be foundation lifting stuff!

Yesterday's pic, now let's see yours my friends!

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Painesville, OH(Zone 5b)

I am a newbie to dahlias...what is GRITDIG? Tamara

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Hi zone5girl, GRITDIG is a race we had last year to see who grew the tallest Dahlia imperialis, or/and get flowers.

This link is for the last leg of the competition

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

I'm a latecomer to the GRITDIG race. I haven't even had my plant delivered yet!!!
I think there shouls be a GRITDIG sticky- or maybe a DI forum!
I have a stupid question... do you need to stake a DI? If so, I think I have some scaffolding in the basement.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Better hurry up Jax, the race is on! A sticky would be great, dare you ask??

I put canes around mine with string tied around the canes when they were young and tender but they soon toughen up. Strong winds may do damage at that crucial stage.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Jax, I have never staked mine. It is really amazing how big the stalk eventually get. I have last year's dead stalks still reaching to the sky out next to the new shoots. The biggest one must be close to 2 inches in diameter.

Wallaby, I have been covering mine up at night fearful of a late frost. I think the tallest of the 4 stalks is maybe 5 inches tall. We have got some warmer weather coming so I will be anxious to see this baby grow.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

I may be out of GRITDIG this year: I dug mine up, sick of waiting for shoots. There were some active roots and a couple honkin tubers masses. I think at least one eye is present: but that eye is up on severely flaking ( like a sheet of bark) tissue that is really moist and not healthy looking. I replanted it and can only hope for a miracle. If I killed it, I would like to be the official cheerleader for all entrants this year.

Nipomo, CA(Zone 8a)

Annie you are a cheerleader all year long! :)

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, geeeeeeeeeeeeeee
I sure hope it comes along! I want you in the race!!!

I only have 2 shoots that I talked about. I was kind of hoping for another one too but no go.

I don't stake mine either tho I have to metal poles along the side just in case. I did end up having to use bungy (sp?) cords because one of my stalks was leaing a lot but it was okay in the wind, I found out.


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Lenjo we are fortunate this year to have 'reasonabl' weather, except no rain for a month other than very light drizzle yesterday, enough to dampen the surface but nothing in the rain gauge. The temps are more like May, or warmer at times, but still some cool spells. Making up for last year's spring! The nights are fairly warm too, around 10C, 50F +/-.

Pooch, I do hope yours grows, the stems on mine were very dry when I cut them back, not like those I took off last year to grow which were green inside. It was in the garage over the previous winter but it was very cold. The young ones perhaps didn't have mature enough stems to be green, but they are growing well.

daisyruffles, 2 stems is 100% more than you had last year! There's still time for more.

This is mine today, the other 3 are to the right, the foremost one has been nibbled at the top but seems to be intact, the middle one was mowed off but is still growing (can't be seen), the back one is OK but had small slugs on it, every night I'm on slug watch! I might take these off later to grow, as if I need more! 4 stems is probably more than enough for the place it's in.

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Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

The greenhouse ones are coming along like wildfire! It gets hot in there, and at this time of year they like heat, but in summer it seems to halt them. I have the other one outside, moved from the east wall and it has 2 small shoots, should move it in the greenhouse but it's getting full!

The tallest is about a foot tall to the tender tip.

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Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Thought I would post a picture of my dahlia tree now.
It sure has grown in leaps and bounds!
I looked at my pictures from last year and this year, I am ahead quite a bit.
So shall see how it will be this season.

I now have another shoot coming on the back side of these shoots you see here. So I will have 3 this year whereas last year, it was 2 stalks! Am glad!


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Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Good to see yours again Carol! I can't enlarge the pic at the moment, it's not playing ball but it looks good! The stem looks very dark.

I looked at a pic of mine last year when I had just moved it to the greenhouse and cut it back, 16th April! No growth at all then, but it was like a cold winter until mid April.

This winter and spring have been much milder than usual, but I don't know if the head start will give me flowers, they rely on shortening days and being well north in the latitudes they shorten perhaps too late.

I have 8 shoots on mine now, so you might get that next year. The two smallest are nibbled, one completely off , the other well gnawed but a fat new shoot has sprung up tall suddenly. You can see it to the right of the right side stem coming up through the delosperma. I just checked and see another shoot coming next to the stem.

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Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, yours look good there tho.

Did you leave the last year stalks there in the picture real high?
Am I doing wrong by cutting down as low as I did in my picture?
I know you are to leave some for energy for the next year, kind of like bulbs so.............should I be leaving more??? Please let me know.

But yours looks real healthy. And nice sunshine in the pic!

I will be here but with my new job, life is much busier now tho. I pretty much come home and just walk in the garden, no work in it. Maybe on the weekends! Kind of miss getting my hands dirty so hope time will settle me down so I can do more after work!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I left the stalks until it was warming up, then cut them back to about 18". The stems are very dry, not like they were last year when I cut them to grow more, they were in the shed then but it was a much colder winter.

The food would go back into the tubers to feed it, but it is much warmer than usual, not hot but we have had some days around 20C (68F) or over. Now it gets to around 16C (61F)which is above average, and finally much more sun but rain is absent. After our drizzle we had less than 1/8", now 6 weeks nearly no rain at all.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

OMG you guys!!! I'm going to have to remove myself from the competition. My Plant Delights order came in today, and I got this GIANT DI "Double or Nothing" bursting the pot!!!
I had to cut the pot off- obviously it was started last year in this pot. I planted it out even though it's too early; it is top-heavy and won't stand upright. I mulched it heavily and put a piece of black plastic bag around the bottom to conserve heat. It's 18" high!
I also got a gigantic hosta "June"- I've never seen such big plants for such reasonable prices!!!

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Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I hope it flowers for you Jax, it's grown from last year's stem so you got extra height! That might help it flower too, but a young plant may not flower so easily. Do you know what your latitude is? If you're in the lower latitudes that will help, shortening days is the trigger.

My plants in the greenhouse must be easily 18" or more high now, no withdrawing, anything goes! Yours might take some time settling, I would protect it from strong winds until it gets acclimatised.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

How do I find my latitude? It's not lower, I'm sure.

The winds are brutal today, but it is warm and sunny. I think this guy must have come from a greenhouse. I really don't have any more space for plants waiting to go out!!! After I took this pic, I planted it about 4" deeper than the present top of the pot, and mulched it heavily with damp leaves/pine needles. I stapled a cone of black plastic around the plant, encircling 3/4 of the foliage. Our weather is supposed to be full sun and above 50 for the next week (no rain). If the foliage drops or gets nipped, better off having it drop now while it still has time to re-grow; at least, that's the philosophy I'm using! As long as the roots stay happy, I guess all will be well. The idea of the black plastic is to absorb heat.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

You have a good 10 degrees lat. south of me!

That temp sounds a little on the low side for current growth, but the sun and plastic may help.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

You have the advantage of the Gulf Stream!!! It's pretty amazing how you can be farther North yet be 2 zones warmer! Our ocean water, esp. the North facing beaches, have the most frigid water. I love to swim, so I've had to put up with it all of my life. It is refreshing to jump in when it's July and Aug. Our weather is unpredictable b/c storm systems come across the U. S. then hit the ocean. Makes for some interesting winters!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Frigid waters here too, it's only a narrow island but the east coast is chill, winds often come from that side, or anywhere. Unpredictable here too! And mostly colder than I want. Had a cold day today, wasn't supposed to happen! It was about 47F, felt colder with winds, (near 9C felt like 6C) supposed to get a little warmer but I didn't notice it.

But hey, look, how can I grumble when I have D.i's like this? (easily) They are easily 2' tall to the tender tip, panes of glass 2' but there is the base and pot height. (can you tell one day of cold has depressed me!)

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Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

I haven't received mine from DrDon yet. Anyone heard from him lately?

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Have you got one yet mgh?

It's getting late, they are growing! We had rain at last but it's cold with it, I got a shot of the plants in the neighbour's greenhouse yesterday. Yes the sun was shining in the evening, but that has been rare lately.

They have well passed 2 panes of glass, with the pot and base taken into account they must be around 4' tall. You can just see 2 of the smaller ones at the right, I have 3 of those from the last lot I took last year. I have 8 plants in all!

The outside one is around 33" tall.

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Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

My gosh Janet, it's a DI forest you have there! Well done!

^^Wallaby, Wallaby she's our man, if she can't do it nobody can.^^ LOL- that's my gender confused cheerleading song for tonight.

Sadly, I report from the sidelines that I pulled my DI after no signs of life existed either above or below ground. Next year. I'm afraid our very cold spell in January was the end of it despite insulation.

Bath, NY(Zone 5b)

mgh, I haven't heard from DrDon either so I guess there will always be next year.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, Janet, you sure have some nice plants there! Way to go!

Oh, Annie, I am so sorry that you lost yours. I am kind of surprised since it is up against the garage but..................maybe you should have brought it into the garage then.
Live and learn.
Maybe next year, I will try if I get more shoots, to root it for you.

I will report that mine are doing very well. Have 3 nice shoots on it. Is about 18" to 2', but am not sure. Need to measure it. The nice weather lately has helped it along a lot, I am sure.

Willamette Valley, OR(Zone 8a)

Nope, I haven't heard from him. I imagine he has gotten very busy though. Yep, Willow, always next year.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

All the big spares are on the wrong side of the ocean, no matter, I'm sure drdon is very busy.

Annie, you make such a good cheerleader, but it's gonna get tough when Lenjo comes along with a taller plant, where are you Lenjo?

I don't know where they are going to go! I could try selling a couple on ebay to pay for my sins, but they would cost a fortune to send, unless someone wants to travel to pick up. The small ones I should be OK with, but there is a size limit on letter post now of 2' so I would have to hurry. To send by parcel can take too long.

Carol you should get more more shoots growing this year, I had 3 main stems last year and got plenty growing. They will make a thick joint on the main stem, slice off with some joint and they should root, it won't damage the main stem. As you see, the early shoots taken will make good plants the next year.

I have 7 good stems on the outside in ground plant (4 large, 3 later) and the two eaten ones which might make good cuttings. The other one in the pot Ieft outside measures 20" to leaf tip (we know how that can change!)

It's been only around 11-12C maximum (52-54F) lately, I want warm again! Had enough rain for now!

I think those in the GH are a little shorter than 4', the panes of glass don't look square but they must be close on 3' 6", will measure them. I have a pic from last year taken at the same time, it's around a foot tall but it was very cold.

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Each year I have gotten 1 more shoot. First year was 1, 2nd year was 2, and now this year, there are 3 shoots. That progress is fine with me.
I bet it is cool to have so many of them. I think they are a neat tree. Very easy to grow and they look nice.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I thought last year was your first Carol, I think mine has too many for the place it's in. If I remove some the growth might go into the others, perhpas I should leave the 4 first stems or even 3. Make more plants!

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Yes, last year was my first year. I mean the stalk I got from Don had 1 stalk, then last year it grew to 2 stalks and this year is 3.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Is everyone freezing cold like we have been here?????? It was 44F max yesterday! Rained for two days, well we did need it. It's still cold, got to 60F today but most of the day has been chilly with an occasional glimpse of sun through the clouds, drizzling now. Needless to say I'm going mad, chomping on the bit, fed up, grumpy.

The D.i.s in the greenhouse are hitting the side slope of the GH, I had to go out and measure them, two are 57.5". In ground one is 42.5" tall.

How are yours going over there? It's a bit disappointing we don't have as many in the race this year, expected more!

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Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Better late than

willow, mgh..........check your dmail, your Di's are on their way....

We should have a few new members this year as not only did willow and Mendy get theirs sent, but maggiemoo in TX and Zoztropz in San Diego got some at the DGRU here earlier this month which I'm just now recovering from.

Annie, I wouldn't worry too much about your roots as they may be a little slow in recovering this year. Mine are in various states of re-emergence ranging from 5ft to just a little over 1ft.

I'm sorry guys for not being around, but this last RU was a real adventure getting set up, including a lovely drive up to the PNW to kidnap balvenie from Marysville, WA and a lovely drive down the Oregon coast. What incredible sights we saw.

I'll be getting on last year's prizes as soon as I breathe,


Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Shame on you!!! I would have loved to meet you. But do realize that you had quite a time schedule.

So how did Robert and you get along??? How cool you did that! What a great thing to do!

I will post a few pics maybe this weekend of my dahlia tree. It sure seems to be growing very nicely this year. Need to check my 2006 year pics to see how tall it was at this time of year.

Oh goodie, more people for competition! Cool!


Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

hiya daisyruffles,

Robert (balvenie) is a one-in-a-trillion friend. I'm just lucky his wife didn't know I was bringing him south for a week of

RU was amazing, and the fact that dave showed up was way more that any of us could have expected. It was a real treat.

As previously stated all dahlia pals are welcome to the 4th annual DGRU here at the ranch and we hope next year to get Trish to come as well.

So the GRITDIG is bigger this year thanks to mother nature and a sharp

Good to see that several of you have already gotten into the game. Dahlia the doggie will be pleased.


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Hi drdon, great to see you here again! Wow, do I REALLY have some D.i.s nearly as tall as yours at this time? The milder winter and mild spring spells (not all the time though!) must have given mine a good start.

Now I will feel guilty at having a head start on those who are just starting, ~grin~ do you believe that, well I do sort of.

Next year should be even better with many more, no doubt some will catch up this season.

Our weather is improving now, not hot but more comfortable, the weather forecasters are telling us we will get up to 38C or 100F this year, last year was a record, they are adding to that. They can't forecast one day to the next, but I wouldn't mind some more of that hot stuff!

Rrrrufffff to Dahila doggie, yes she will be pleased! She will want all contestants addresses so she can do some dirt digging.

I just checked my pics form last year, on 31st May mine was 43" tall in the greenhouse before it went in the ground, so the ground one is the same but the greenhouse ones have a good lead on that!

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Don reminded me to come and join you all and to tell the truth I haven't even looked at the tree dahlia. I'll go and do it tomorrow. Mine doesn't take off early and is blooming at Thanksgiving. Of course it's planted in shade so that may make a difference.

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

woohoo doss!!

Boy, if we could get everyone with plants involved with this year's friendly Dahlia imperialis growth comparisons it would be a bunch of fun to take note of when the plants go into high gear in regard to differences in latitude. Normally ours down here begin blooming around October and are pretty well done by Thanksgiving. What would really be fun is a very late winter up in the PNW so we can see blooms in vastly different climates and see if the plants might be variable in color and/or shape of flowers like they are in the various regions they are found in down in their habitat.

I'm really hoping that my D. imperialis that reportedly will have doulbe-white flowers can be seen this year in its second season in the ground. D. excelsa is already showing some buds at less than 6ft tall. I didn't expect this and am wondering if it is, in fact, that species. Well it won't be the first time I've been hoodwinked by a

I should have pics to show of D. excelsa to show for the scrutiny of the group. So maybe we can key it and find out if it is true.

So, is this our roster?


It would be marvelous to see plant behavior in all of these regions!

best to all,

Albany, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, lots of people, how cool!

Don, a double one will be fun to see some pics of it.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

drdon, your seeds of D excelsa (?) and coccinea have germinated, they are still small but growing quickly. I didn't get a very early start on them so doubt if I will see blooms this year. The one I have that looked like excelsa didn't put on much of a show last year if any, I don't recall having seen it, and it doesn't get tall but is late to flower. The hot dry summer may have upset it, it is supposed to be a species, but which one?

That's some line up, but I'm gonna be inconsolable when mine doesn't flower and I see everyone elses flower!

I think this is it, excelsa look-alike, in October, it has the dark red stems and is in the right place but looks a little different.

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