Dahlia tuber clumps

Missy, Traverse City, Mi Z5October 23, 2009

What determines how many new tubers are produced by a dahlia? I dug up my tubers yesterday and one of the plants has at least 30 large new tubers on it, while others have small fingerlike tubers and one only has the mother tuber.

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Poochella(7 WA)

Fate. The one with only the Mother tuber will be the one you liked most. The one with 30 offspring will be one you never wanted to see again.

Some varieties seem to be good, consistent reproducers with reliable storage qualities. Others are fickle and temperamental and vary year to year. That's my take.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 12:48AM
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Genetics is the determining factor. Some varieties are enthusiastic tuber producers and others much less so. Having said that, there are differences from clump to clump. One clump of a variety may have 10 tubers and another only 2 or 3. Varieties that make lots of tubers survive longer in commerce.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:09PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

That is true enough Teddahlia. I just dug two of the same variety yesterday growing 20" apart. One clump had about 3 usable tubers and the other had 3x that number. Pretty close to identical conditions/treatment through the season. Some are just so hearty and good reproducers, whether you want them to be or not.

As much as I dislike digging at this time of year, it is a bit intriguing to see how the plants have done as far as root formation goes. At least, that's what I keep telling myself...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 1:00AM
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I still have more to dig. Some were so deep. I can't see eyes and hate to store all these tubers. Someone also said to spray them with Neem Oil?????

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:36AM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

"Fate. The one with only the Mother tuber will be the one you liked most. The one with 30 offspring will be one you never wanted to see again. "

This is sooo true. I am new to dahlias, but mine evidently new all about this rule. They followed it to a T. :-)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Hehehe-just lurking and learning..
Fate-that would be a good name for a dahlia!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 9:37AM
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if you provide nice loose soil/compost mix when planting and drainage then you will get many more tubers as the plants can reproduce more when the tubers are free to grow and spread so the more prep and care you give the bed youre planting in the happier dahlias are and the larger the clumps grow.

I miss my own dahlia collection now as lost them one year when I was hosptalized and unable to lift them .

they froze and I lost probably 50 or more different types ( my little son was so sad as those were some of his favorites) but this spring we have moved into a new home w a new yard so I plan to search GW for anyone that has extras for postage or perhaps a spring trade as my own garden at my old place needs to be moved anyway so I will have tons to trade then...

when I planted my own 1st dahlias in my hard clay soil alot died at first due to the hardness of the soil and lack of drainage.

now that I know to toss out the clay and make a bed w gravel under the tubers for drainage and add a good packaged garden soil compost mix i get so many offset tubers that theres plenty to share come fall when its time to lift them for winter..

also if you have an extra tuber of the one that you want to reproduce then plant it in an out of the way area and remove the buds as they form..with no energy spent making flowers in no time you will have lots and lots of large clumps of tubers for replanting..

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 6:22PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

That is very sound advice pjandmommy: give the roots a happy home and they will grow much more easily. Last year we had to drive a huge trencher through one of my favorite beds and it dug up all the horrible clay and rocks from below back up into my carefully prepped bed. Really made a difference for root development, as they had to fight to grow amid the hard clay clumps. Redoing that bed is on the agenda for 2010.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:19AM
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what do the experts think about digging dahlia tubers in Jan ( on a mild day) and storing clumps in styrofom ice chests wash and dry clumps and cover with peat moss or wood shavings/ then divide in April after first frost divide, plant and or give away excess bulbs. We don't have really bad freezing weather and I see no reason why the dahlia tubers could not be dug in January. What do you think guys.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 7:50AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Why not leave them right where they are and dig up in April for division, if you want? Much less work. This is such a mild winter, if you want to dig now, there's no reason not to though. It's milder these January days than when I was digging in Nov/Dec.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 11:21AM
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