When to plant zone 5

sue_in_nova_scotiaMarch 27, 2006

My friend just told me she is planting her Dalias (outside) this week...I told her I thought it was to early...When do you plant outside in zone 5? Or is now ok?

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plantlady2(NW Washington)

Dahlias prefer to have the ground at 60* when they get put outdoors. So, if your ground is colder than that your tubers won't like it & may rot or sit there & do nothing until the ground warms up.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 3:54PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I have started mine this past week. They are INDOORS laying on growing medium, and under lights. I will NOT be putting them outdoors until all danger of frost is past. Here in zone 5, that date is usually June 1st, but it may be earlier this year.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 5:41PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Really, jroot? I'd better check mine then. Sigh. They didn't look too good last December, so I unwrapped them and buried them in peat moss and left them in an unused elevator instead. My basement was too warm. I haven't dared take a look since.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 10:04PM
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I live in zone 5 also and I wouldn't dare plant until late May when I know there will not be a frost. I always do a soil check and when it's 65 to 70 , I plant. If its colder, they won't grow anyway so wait for the sun.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 10:43PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

I have learned walking the very hard path of impatience to wait, wait, wait, or you will lose tubers in the cold, wet soil of spring. I'm waiting til late April or May here in zone 7b. In Zone 5, I hope your friend has a green house or local case of global warming going on.

Unfortunately I am losing tubers now to indoor rot after a great winter storage. Lost each and every Lauren Michelle, total decay/smelly/foul rot. And they looked so healthy two weeks ago!

Is there such a thing as keeping the tubers too warm- like 60 degrees? I brought them all inside to spur growth of eyes and now I'm wondering if they'd like to be cooled off again. Many are flourishing, sprouting, and remaining firm, but a couple varieties and a few skinnies here and there are just ROTTEN! Dahlias are beautiful in bloom, but a rotten tuber is nothing but low down, dirty foulness.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 11:03PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Speaking of rotten tubers...., I have to say that most of mine were packed in recycled plastic grocery bags after a good dusting of bulb fungicide. I also did several with the saran wrap method. I had only ONE tuber that rotted, and it was wrapped in saran wrap. I had another few tubers of that variety in the grocery bags, and they were nice and firm. I guess being cheap paid off :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 5:32PM
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reddscarlette(3a BC Can)

I lost a good chunk of the ones I got from a friend last fall. I had them boxed up and in peet moss. I'm not sure if I did anything wrong or not...but some of them just shrivled up and went "blah"

I did however get quite a few that I got sprouts on and I decided to get a jump start and got them in pots. Our season is quite a bit shorter than others so I thought "WHY not?"

They'll be ready to go in the ground by May long weekend.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 1:42AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I find that the peat moss acts like a sponge, and sucks out the moisture from the tubers. In the past, I have not had good luck with storing them in peat moss at all.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 3:27AM
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reddscarlette(3a BC Can)

What do you store your tubers in Jroot?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 9:07PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I checked mine yesterday. More than half have sprouted, so I potted them all. Others? I don't know what to do with them yet. They spent the night in the unheated garage. I need to move them to the attic today. The temp is still in the 40's. Too cold to leave them out.

Poochella, some tubers are coming your way. :-)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 8:13AM
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I plant mine anywhere from the 15th to the long weekend in May.
They do fine.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 5:19PM
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alberta_clipper(3a Alberta)

Last year I headed out in my motorhome on May 5th as I headed to follow the NASCAR circuit for the next seven weeks. I planted my tubors on May 4th, and when I returned in late June I was greeted with healthy plants. All but one grew. Remember, this is in zone 3 - Edmonton.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 2:29PM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi All!

And Jroot and Poochella, I have a question for you at the end of this message.

I just finished unpacking the last of my Dahlias. As you can see I live in Z5 and the unusual warm weather seems to have prompted them to waken a bit earlier than normal. Fortunately after checking one of the boxes 4 weeks ago I found the contents to be badly wilted just as redscarlette experinenced. I sprayed them with water, left them overnight in a plastic grocery bags and then planted them in a medium the next day. More fortunate, of the 8 large boxes I have, the other 7 were fine.

I've been slowly taking them out over the past 4 weeks because of the weather situation. It was 79 degrees here in the Syracuse NY area last friday 3/31.

I don't know if this would be any input to the storage problems (for next season) but this is the 4th year I've boxed up my Dahlias in peat moss. I don't separate and leave them in clumps. I'm a chicken to try the Saran Wrap Method. I did have a problem 2 years ago as I had to leave the tubers in our new homes unheated garage and most of the tubers froze. I was able to salvage a handful but in reality I had to start all over.

The boxes I use are 17"L X 13"W X 10"H and fairly large. I generally have 3 or 4 layers of tubers in each box depending on their size. Interestingly the box of wilted tubers wasn't like any of the others or the ones in past years. What I normally do is line the box with a large plastic garbage bag. When filled I fold loosly inwards and close the box top unsealed. The funny thing was the wilted tubers didn't have a plastic bag. Wether I was in a hurry I don't know? But I won't make the same mistake again.

I do notice as I open the boxes the plastic bags do have some moisture, but very minimal. So my conclusion is the plastic keeps the tubers from drying out and wilting. At least that's what I surmise, I hope it makes sense.

Jroot and Poochella! Have you ever done or heard of mudding your cuttings?


    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 5:12PM
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We're in zone 3 and the last frost is usually about May 15th. I plant our dahlias both in pots (2 weeks ago) and in the ground (this week). Both do fine. I mark the 'in ground' Dahlias with sticks and if they break the surface and we are going to have a frost or near frost then I cover them for the night. We've had no problems for years.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 11:30PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))


I just saw your message. No, I can't say I've heard of "mudding my cuttings". To what are you referring?

I agree with you on your surmise of the properties of plastic. You do want to have them dry before bagging them up though. I also dust mine well with a bulb dust aka fungicide.

Reddscarlette, in the fall, I dig up the plant and cut off the foliage about an inch above the tubers, watching out for eyes. Then I let these dry for about a day or a half day. Then I dust them with a bulb dust ( fungicide), and wrap them in recycled plastic grocery bags. These are labelled, and wrapped fairly tightly around the tubers. The bags are then put into a cardboard box about the size that Cats39 uses, and then stored in the cold cellar where it does not freeze, but remains cool all winter long. As I mentioned, I have taken them out this month, laid them on moist growing medium, and started to pot them once they have sprouted. It is surprising how many will sprout within a day, let alone a few hours. Surprising and exciting.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 10:29PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Sorry I missed this post until just now, Jim.

Yes, I think the plastic helps retain moisture. Whatever storeage method works for you is a good way to go.

I haven't heard of "mudding your cuttings" either.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 2:34PM
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