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Will separating tubers wake dormant eyes?

Posted by steve22802 7a VA (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 19:25

I've been dividing clumps of tubers for the past several days and I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge about what triggers dormant eyes to wake up? I know that if you replant an entire clump as one unit you will get quite a few stems coming up from the clump but I don't believe this represents every potential eye. So I'm wondering if the process of separating a clump into as many separate tubers as possible actually wakes more dormant eyes than you would get by keeping the clump as one unit. Any thoughts?

- Steve

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Will separating tubers wake dormant eyes?

Please check this post:

There is an excellent recommendation about waking up dormant eyes. Good luck.

RE: Will separating tubers wake dormant eyes?

Kousa, I read the thread you linked to and I am already doing that. My question is regarding waking a whole clump vs. cutting a clump apart and waking the individual tubers. Can you trigger more eyes to wake by separating the tubers before breaking dormancy? My perception is that when you wake a whole clump only a limited number of eyes are activated.

RE: Will separating tubers wake dormant eyes?

Your theory makes sense. However, I have little experience in this respect to offer any good observations. Perhaps you can experiment to see whether your results support your theory. It is impossible for me to store a whole dahlia root. I have to break them up into halves or quarters. What I found is the dahlia tubers with thick neck seem to have better probability of an eye/eyes than tubers with thin neck.

RE: Will separating tubers wake dormant eyes?

Perhaps this will help answer the question: An old trick when digging dahlias is to cut off the dahlia stalks a week before you dig and divide the tuber clumps. The cutting of the stalk causes the eyes to swell and to be easily seen as you divide. You are just doing the same thing after the clump has been dug and stored for awhile. The act of storing whole dahlia clumps is fraught with danger as dahlias store better as tubers. The dahlia stalk quite often rots, and the rot continues to the tuber eyes. Removal of the tubers from the stalk does not expose the tubers to the rot from the stalk. If I were to compare the net tuber count from tuber clumps divided within a week or so from digging to those stored for a couple of months before dividing, I would estimate a loss of tubers of about 25%. Just a guess however.

Re: The act of storing whole dahlia clumps is fraught with danger

>> The act of storing whole dahlia clumps is fraught with
>> danger as dahlias store better as tubers.


Hmmm...that has not been my experience at all, quite the opposite. Personally I have found that the most foolproof way to store dahlias is to dig up the whole clump and store it in a 5 gallon bucket or large pot filled with damp garden soil. Sometimes I water and then drain the pots before storage if the soil is bone dry. I don't add any more water over winter and the soil gradually dries out by spring. The tubers almost always come out nice and firm.

I'm trying the plastic wrap method this winter with part of my tubers and I've found some rot problems when I checked on them a couple times. I'm getting too many tubers to store in pots now so I need a less space intensive storage method. I'm also experimenting with leaving some in the ground with extra protection, we'll see how that turns out later.

Ted, what storage method do you use?

- Steve

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