I need help with a dilemma!

cats39(z5 Upstate NY)October 12, 2007

Hi All!

I've got a dilemma and I'm sure someone on the Forum can help. It's the weather!

But really, I'm sure most of you have been experiencing the whacky world of "climate change"! I live in zone 5a in Central New York State and last year we had our first hard frost in Nov.. Sept. generally seems to be the more norm with by the middle of Oct running a close second.

But taking in Dahlias in Nov as I did last year waiting for a frost can be a bit of a pain. I'd just a soon start today but most of the plants are flourishing.

So my question - Last week ago today it was in the Hi 80's. Today we'll barely get out of the 50's. I don't expect to see the 80's again and we might have a 3 or 4 day spell of 70's yet to come.

What I'd like to do is this; If the weather looks to be continuing more seasonal next week I'd like to start cutting down at least my taller 4' and higher plants to about 12" from the ground and pulling the stakes etc. Can I safely wrap the opened stems loosely with a plastic garbage bag as not to let any moisture (in the form of rain or wet snow) enter the stems hole and then rot the tuber? I've never tried it before?

Between my taller plants and my boarder Dahlias I've got close to 200 or slightly more, so I think you can understand my wanting to get something going.

I really appreciate your help.

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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

Use aluminum foil, it's easier. Between whacking them off and digging, I usually wait 2 weeks so that I can see the new yes more easily.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 5:37PM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi GrannyM!

Thanks for your reply. I'm going to assume that your waiting to see the eyes is for a reason?

Do you personally use the Saran Wrap Method?

I haven't as of yet. I'm a little chicken to try as I've always had good luck by storing in Peat Moss although it is space costly.

Usually I have them in the Moss within two or three days of drying etc. before an eyes develope. If I whack them (as you say) now and the eyes develope will it promote to much growth over the winter for the way I store my tubers?

If you or someone happens to know I appreciate your time.

Thanks again Jim!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 9:38AM
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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

I divide before storage. Each tuber needs an eye to produce the next years plant. There are too many warty things on the stalk, so I want to be certain that the tuber has an eye and not a warty looking thing. Middle-aged eyesight, doncha know ? (I almost slapped that young whippersnapper of a doctor)
Also, I have too many of them with too little storage space. For my first two years of storage I put them in styrofoam boxes, kept in a mostly unheated bedroom. Now I keep them in a dorm sized frige. It has worked well for me.

Yes, I use the saran wrap method. Perhaps you might try just a few that way and see what works best for you.

Poochella might have more insight also.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 11:54AM
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mingusalex2007

I cut mine on Halloween day (just easy to remember) and then wait 2 weeks to dig them up. Then I can clearly see the eyes and where to cut. Then after a couple of hours to dry, I use a felt pen to write the name of the tubers right on the tuber. I wrap all of my dahlias in saran wrap and put them into my crisper in the bottom of my fridge. I threw out the boxes and boxes of shavings I used to put them in. I wrap about 5 together in one package and write on the outside what it is. Simple and clean. I had 200 in the bottom of my fridge last year. The tubers then have a nice long nap. Check once a month to ensure good health. In late March I take them out of the fridge and lay them in trays indoors and spray them once a day with water so they won't dry out. Works like a charm! After a week or two the sprouts start growing. Then it's planting time! I only had 2 sprouts about an inch long that started growing before I took them out of the fridge.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 1:04AM
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covella

Mingusalex - you wrap 5 tubers together? Do they touch?
One of my objections to wrapping was how time consuming it was to do it one at a time. How long do your dry your tubers after washing and labeling before you wrap?

I had tubers start to shrivel a little because I dried them in the house for 3-4 days and it was dry and prob too warm in the house at that time. I washed, trimmed and laid out on newspapers.

Do you dust with a fungicide? I don't like chemicals and was thinking of a dilute bleach solution for a few hrs.

Thanks for any thoughts
A

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 5:35AM
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pdshop(5)

I also would like to know if the tubers touch? Do you also wrap all the tubers produced by that one plant?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 3:28PM
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huey_ga(z7)

Aluminum foil works but I have found over the years that water in the crown rarely rots a tuber if you going to take it out of the ground soon and very seldom if you leave it in the ground all winter like we can do here in Georgia. (but it is always your favoite)
Saran Wrap works well for me too. The object is to NOT have them touch so you wrap one tuber and roll the wrap and then the next tuber and so on. You can shake & bake the tubers in a fungicide as the article as the Michigan Dahlia Society points out or you can use a bleach solution of 10:1 for 15/20 minutes. You want to make sure the tubers are air tight.

When you wash your tubers just let them air dry for 2-4 hours and then put them in boxes with paper over the tubers so they won't dry out and keep in a cool location until you are ready to process them. I try to dig only enough clumps that I can process in a 2-3 day period. I divide mine in the Fall making sure I get enough of the crown on each division to have a good chance an eye will appear.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 7:07PM
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covella

thanks for the great description huey!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:18PM
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mingusalex2007

alyrics...The saran method is fast. I do not use anything on my tubers before I wrap them. Do a search for no fuss dahlias. You will find all the info you need. The dahlias do not touch. You use a long piece of saran wrap and roll the first one and add the next and roll it. They must not touch each other. I usually put 5 or so in each piece of saran.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 2:25AM
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