spindly stems

pdshop(5)August 12, 2013

This year my dahlias are short and it is because they have many very spindly stems? What causes this and what can I do to stop it next year. Plants are in raised beds.

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I wonder if perhaps you could invite a grower of your local society to your garden to give customized advise? Your growing conditions are very different from the rest of the country, and they might be in a better position to help you.

My garden is thriving and loving this growing year, in my region. Growers close to you probably have experienced similar issues, and know how to resolve them in your region.

Hope you're still getting lots of blooms off those short plants!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:52PM
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That is a good idea. So far no flowers open on te dahlias. A month late.
What can I use to lower Nitrogen in my soil?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:54PM
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I believe I've heard that nitrogen is water solutable, so maybe simply watering daily might take out excess fertilizer.

But I'd defer to an experienced local grower's suggestions, after they've actually seen your beds and got a more in depth oral history from you.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Too much nitrogen is not going to give you short spindly stems - it will do the opposite, give you tall lush plants - but maybe not much in the way of flowers.

When did you get them into the ground? Did you pre-start them or plant bare tubers? How much sun do they have? Do they get enough water? Do your beds drain well?

A few of mine are short and spindly, but they are the weak looking ones that I hadn't originally planned on planting. The tubers sat in a tray with almost no soil, in the shade for almost a month longer than the ones that were first choice. Some of my plants are 6ft, all but a couple have buds, but only about 8 types out of 60 have actually flowered so far. We had such a cold spring and a cool summer, everything is slow this year.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:20AM
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The plants are darak green from top to bottom. Mostly all leaves which leaves me to believe that it is N. I use raised beds because of the clay soil here. All the yers I have had a huge harvest, the leaves at the bottom were yellow, brown and off by now and the plants were full of blooms. I now have to figure out where did it come from? They are in the sun about 8 hours. One bed is only in the sun 4 hours but the plants look the same. If you were starting a new raised bed, what would you put in it? Pat

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:28PM
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I just reread your first post.
"they have many very spindly stems"

Do you mean there are multiple stalks from each tuber? If so, that may be your issue. Most dahlia growers only allow one stalk per tuber to develop, others are snipped off right from the start. That way all of the energy is directed to the single stalk.

Not having bottom leaves die off isnt a bad thing, and is probably more about weather and water than anything else. I havent had to cut hardly any bottom leaves off my tomato plants this year and that is rare!

All Dahlias are going to be " just leaves" until they start making buds, Do you not even have any buds yet? I dont know where you live, but the cool spring in most of the country has everything slower this year.

I have very sandy soil so I dont think I am really qualified to recommend the best amendments for your raised beds over clay.

I ad a couple of inches of composted manure to my Dahlia beds every year, and add a healthy pinch of bone meal to each dahlia as I plant them. Rarely to I do anything else in the way of fertilizing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:36AM
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At least you were kind enough to give e some ideas. I live in CO and the dahlias were fine last year. I planted the end of June as we had an early Spring. If I feel around the bottom of the plants and find a sucker (Icall them), I take it off. This year I got caught a few times and have one plant with 5 stems!!! It will never hold up a flower. I find them mostly from plants that I buy from the Big List and not from the tubers. I just wanted to use plants as it is easier and quicker than tubers but I guess I should stick with the tubers. I had about 60 dahlias planted and if I see 10 flowers I will be lucky. I plant the tubers about 3 inches deep with bone meal in raised beds. I do use small vegtable spikes later and a foiliar feed from Moor Grow. Pat

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 4:42PM
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"At least you were kind enough to give e some ideas."

I truly didn't mean to seem unkind, Pat. I've followed your identical posts on other forums and seen suggestions given by several dahlia experts, along with offers of local experts to help you personally. They greatly outrank my experience in idea-giving.

Here's hoping those plants of yours kick it into high gear and start budding like crazy!


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:31PM
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I have noticed over the years that you can give plants with too much of a good thing. Specifically, people put lots of soil amendments like compost, mushroom compost, manures of all kinds and lots of other sources of organic material, perhaps alfalfa pellets, bone meal, and a myriad of other items. Then they wonder why their plants do not do well. As a human being if I ate a 100 pounds of food at one sitting, I would not feel well either. Plants want nutrients but in regular small doses. When too much organic material is put on a garden all at once, the plants are competing with the bacteria in the soil that are digesting the compost. It seems that the micro organisms win and the plants look sickly. If you have added too much of the above onto your garden this year, it is good to know that your garden will do great next year when the soil organisms are done digesting. Another example is trying to plant a garden where the manure pile was during the winter. One would think the garden will do good there but it will not. But the next year that area will be the best in your garden.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:28PM
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Thanks so much. It is Sept now so it is now or never. What do you think of using Superthrive as the only addition next year?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 2:51PM
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