Nip off leggy sprouts on newly potted tubers?

linnea56(z5 IL)March 24, 2008

I just potted my dahlias to get a head start before planting them outside in late May.

Most of them have leggy sprouts: some as long as 6 inches, and of course, curvy from being inside the bag. I did not have long sprouts last year, just some short shoots and eyes.

This is despite my planting them a bit early compared to last year, plus doing it only 3 days after buying them. I had been calling around to stores to see when they came in, and got them right after they showed up, which I did to get them before theyÂ.sprouted. I hate to think what people will find they have if they wait and donÂt pot them up now.

WhatÂs the best thing to do now? Should I cut off the leggy sprouts, or just nip the tips? None have leaves: it looks like the leaves broke off in the bags. I can see where the leaf stems attached. Normally I start nipping after 2-3 pairs of leaves to make them bushy. I donÂt want any to be tall, though they often end up that way anyway. Thanks!

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I'd cut off the sprouts right down next to the tuber. They'll throw up new, healthy green growth very quickly.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 8:26AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Should I cut them all off? Or just the long ones? WhatÂs a keeper vs a chop-ee? Like, chop everything longer than an inch, or with broken off leaf stems?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 3:49PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Give them light and wait and see. The ends of the sprouts should open up into leaves and you should see the buds of new leaves in the tip. As long as this is the case, no problems, they'll do fine without cutting, or, they can make fine cuttings too.

6" isn't long and spindly to my way of thinking for a Dahlia.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 5:40PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

The problem is that they arenÂt vertical. Since they were sprouting in the bag they are all more or less growing sideways. There was a limit as to how much I could straighten the tuber cluster in each pot since I was trying to keep the original (last yearÂs) stem upright. Now that they "know" which way is "up" they will undoubtedly turn up, but that will be at the tip of a laying-down section. (Unless I make them little bonsai crutches from popsicle sticks?)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 6:24PM
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