best way to stake a lot of dahlias

beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)August 19, 2014

So I have this new job on an estate and one thing I do is grow about 400 dahlias in a cutting garden. I grow the dahlias in rows and this year I used twine and stakes to keep them up. It was semi successful and very time consuming. Does anyone know of a better way to stake dahlias I have heard of tomato cages but the owner of the property said no to that idea. Does anyone use some sort of horizontal netting? Thanks

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Construction web fencing works reasonably well if put up horizontally. I use t posts and string twine parallel to the rows with cross ties here and there.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:26PM
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A combination of above works best for me.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:41PM
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One of my favorites of this year, AC Joe. Long strong stems with long- lasting non-fading blooms and impeccable form

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:43PM
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beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)

wow beautiful thanks for sharing the pictures

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:17PM
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Here's another kind of trellis, with bamboo criss-crossed for support. Ideally, this type of horizontal trellis should be layered every 18 inches as it is a lot thinner then the type I use.

This image was taken of a club member's seedling patch, where the main objective is to see the first few blooms to determine if each seedling is worth keeping for next year. Open centered plants are pulled out and tossed, or chopped at ground level so the other seedlings have more breathing room.

Note the black leaky hose top right... It is curved back and forth to provide irrigation with relative ease. This preplanning on how to easily water is essential for big growers. There is enough work during a season without hand watering 100 plus plants!

Note the straw for mulch. I use mushroom manure. I've heard of some who use grass clippings, or ground cloth. Some folk rotatil 'til the cows come home, and others hand weed until the dahlias gain enough bulk to smother the weeds.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:00PM
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Hi All;
We only grow about 200 plants each year. There are many times where the blooms are so large they are not able to support themselves with very thin stems particularly after a rain. We purchased 1/2 dia. conduit, 10' lengths, relatively inexpensively at Home Depot. Painted them green, cut them to different lengths, pounded them into the ground using a protecting piece of wood. For ease the other inexpensive pieces are conduit connectors so cutting short or long lengths can be added with just a Phillips screwdriver. We have been growing these beautiful flowers for about 10 years and as the plants show their heights it is possible to often know which ones are 2-5' tall and those that are gong to be 8' high. The purchase of the conduit gives you the ability to cuts different lengths and after some time there will be enough short/long pieces to get you through the season just by adding additional lengths. We prefer not to use any type of webbing that would take away from the beauty of our Dahlia blooms.
The conduit in most cases is difficult to see within the foliage.
Help this helps to make your gardens more beautiful than ever.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 4:35PM
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Hi again;
I failed to mention in my previous post, we prefer to use yarn, green of course, purchased in 2 lb. skeins. It may be more expensive than twine but by tying the stalks and stems loosely there is no damage to the plants and easily supports the blooms and as is somewhat hidden from sightseers. If you wish not to have too much interaction between plants you have the ability to tie them more tightly.
If you look closely at the bed picture you may be able to see about 5 supporting stakes of conduit. The bloom is Sky Angel and it is easy to see how the extension is added to the original stake using a connector.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 1:03PM
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An interruption caused me to fail to add the pix to my previous post. Happens to us seniors often.

Here is one pic.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:30PM
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Pic #2.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:33PM
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beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)

thanks for all the good information and pictures the dahlias are all yummy.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 10:52AM
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Where do you live to get such nice tall dahlias so soon?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 12:22AM
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Hi beigestonehill, pdshop & Y'all;

Sorry to be so late with the answer to your questions.

Thank you for your thanks. Yes, some of them are "Yummy". They have to be to have entry into our family's and close friend's annual calendar

We are located on the North Shore of Ma, a few miles out of Boston. We fertilize with 5-10-5, 2 weeks apart early in the season. The 2nd one approx.1 week before planting. We follow the info suggested by Swan Island Dahlias after fertilizing, bone meal, no watering, slug bait etc.and add 5" X 5" X 2.5" vinyl squares around the sprouts when they appear to help retain water and act as a deterrent to slugs. Rabbits are very bothersome.

We do disagree with Swan Island's writings to not use bark mulch. We do on some of our beds to help control weeds.

Some years a few blooms appear early in this cooler climate while others are much later. The expected late bloomers are very questionable. We do have a late one that did blossom on 1 Sep.

Should anyone have other comments or questions please submit.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Your method with adding conduit as the plants grow is really ideal! Your bed has a nice clean look to it that is enviable. Thank you for sharing, Charlie!

I just couldn't imagine finding the time to tie two hundred plants continuously, much less adding conduit to the ones needing it! Then you have to store all that pipe! One year I used pcv pipes to stake sixty plants, and had a lot of breakage as I couldn't keep up with it all with young kids and my two businesses. Kudos to you for doing this so well!

Although the horizontal row support and row twine is visible and may be seen as an eye-sore, it is the only way I will grow more then twenty plants from now on. It takes ten minutes to add another row of twine to a hundred plants at a time, and the tight hedge growing style keeps most weeds at bay. Disbudding, cutting and deadheading is the main maintenance with this system at this point, thank goodness. Then the real labor starts with frost, but let's not think of that yet. :-)

Check out how the same view as two weeks ago has changed...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 2:06PM
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