Digging, Dividing & Storage forum: Digging and Dividing for the 2021 Season

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Imageteddahlia
Jun 30, 2020 11:39 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
I stop fertilizing Aug 15th and start digging Oct 1st and finish digging about Nov 10th. I have not been "bold" and tried continuing fertilizer much later. Years ago, I over fertilized an Amy K plant and when I dug it, it had numerous immature white tubers. I have noticed over the years that white, thin skinned tubers do not store well. However on an easy storing variety they may store reasonably well.
When weather conditions are normal, the storage ability of dahlia tubers is probably 90% genetic and 10% good practices. In the big picture, it would be easy to just divide all dahlia varieties into two categories, those that store well with no special handling and then a category for all the rest.

When you are digging, there several things you can do, to increase the odds of keeping "all the rest" . I am going to continue posting to this thread later in the season but the first good practice is to dig and divide the poor keepers FIRST. They seem to be affected by WET soil and get fungus infections easily. The are best dug when TOTALLY GREEN and do not wait for frost as they will get fungus as they die down. and the fungus will go down to the tubers. This may well be one of the big genetic factors that poor storing varieties share: they are not resistant to fungus infections.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageCosey
Jun 30, 2020 12:04 PM CST
Name: LeeAnn
Zone 6b, Pennsylvania
I've tried biological fungicides for several years and feel like they make a difference in tuber quality and storage. This year I spent the money and I'll be using the product all season long to help with foliar fungus issues and also treat the roots (2-3x) with a drench through the irrigation lines. I haven't come across any public information about using this in dahlias but I'm following recommendations for bulb crops.
Imageteddahlia
Jun 30, 2020 12:18 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Controlling fungus infections in the dahlia garden is important for commercial sellers of tubers. Swan Island sprays their fields several times per year with fungicides(yes, plural) and say that this helps with tuber storage issues. People who have experimented with drenches for tubers have not generally been successful as the infection is INSIDE the tuber not on the outside and a drench cannot cure fungus inside the tuber. Fungus in a tuber digests tuber material by using chemicals like oxalic acid that melts tuber tissue. Once tuber tissue has been digest by a fungus it will rot even if the fungus is gone. The key is upstream in preventing fungus infections in the growing plants. It is best done by genetics, breeding better tuber keeping varieties. Second best is chemicals.

“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
Imagemelissamaeday
Jun 30, 2020 9:38 PM CST
Name: Melissa
Omaha,NE
teddahlia wrote:

When you are digging, there several things you can do, to increase the odds of keeping "all the rest" . I am going to continue posting to this thread later in the season but the first good practice is to dig and divide the poor keepers FIRST. They seem to be affected by WET soil and get fungus infections easily. The are best dug when TOTALLY GREEN and do not wait for frost as they will get fungus as they die down. and the fungus will go down to the tubers. This may well be one of the big genetic factors that poor storing varieties share: they are not resistant to fungus infections.



Ted, I think this advice is 100% spot on, and possibly something that most people don't even contemplate. Last year, I dug Peaches N Cream, Purple Joy, Tartan, and Hollyhill Black Cherry first, and they all made it through Winter storage with no rot/loss. I look forward to your continued posts on this subject, and thank you for being an endless well of dahlia knowledge! I tip my hat to you.
ImageIslander
Jul 1, 2020 10:31 AM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
Lets create a list of "First Responder" dahlias. Melissa gave us a good start.
ImageCosey
Jul 1, 2020 10:40 AM CST
Name: LeeAnn
Zone 6b, Pennsylvania
Preventing fungus is the goal this year! I hope between the routine foliar applications and the root drench via drip irrigation (soil drench is new for me this year) it will make a difference for those harder to store varieties. I know you can't completely eradicate it all, but I want to settle into some best management practices.

Also, how can Tartan be as old as it is and be so difficult to store? I lost my Tartan. I really enjoyed it the one year I had it.

I also try to process the more difficult to store varieties first. For me, they seem to quickly dehydrate and go soft on me if they are left out of the ground for any amount of time. I read a paper on the science behind storing potatoes and it is recommended that potatoes be given a 2 week rest immediately after digging in a high humidity, 45-50* room before being processed. With that in mind, I may dig and shake off as much dirt as possible but crate them up whole to sit in the root cellar while I process others to let them rest.
SteveM
Jul 1, 2020 11:08 AM CST
Name: Steve
San Diego
Commercial cut flower grower
Islander wrote:Lets create a list of "First Responder" dahlias. Melissa gave us a good start.


Porcelain and Chimacum Troy are two of my candidates.
Imageteddahlia
Jul 1, 2020 12:47 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
"Porcelain and Chimacum Troy are two of my candidates."
Porcelain is waterlily we grew for several years back when. Back in those days it was very nice but more modern waterlilies are much better. We could keep some tubers for couple of years.
Chimacum Troy can be a fairly good keeper for some people. We grew it for many years and even sold some. The big reason we do not grow it is that it does not make seeds. Margaret used the pollen from it and it's genes are in some of our MB and formal decorative flowers. HH Regal has some C. Troy genes and some Barbarry genes.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
Imagemelissamaeday
Jul 1, 2020 11:12 PM CST
Name: Melissa
Omaha,NE
Super interesting information about storing potatoes, LeeAnn!

Tartan is finicky. When I joined Cubits a few years ago, I noticed it was on the list of bad tuber making/storing varieties. A friend bought it for me, and when it arrived, the vendor put in 4 tubers when she bought me 2. One actually grew, the other 3 were blind. The first year I stored it, it started sprouting in it's Saran Wrap in January. It grew normally that year, despite having never really slept. I know a few people who buy it every year...I guess it just overwinters and makes tubers in it's own perfect storm vacuum situation. Confused
Imageteddahlia
Jul 2, 2020 10:14 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Some of these hard to keep tuber varieties have been adopted by the Dutch growers who grow "pot tubers" in the ground. They are planted very close together and are harvested by a machine. For some reason they can grow and sell some of these poor keeping varieties. They used to sell Sellwood Glory also. Wyn's Moonlight Sonata is another they have sold successfully.
If I won the lottery I would start up a business selling pot tubers . The market here in the USA is wide open.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
[Last edited Jul 2, 2020 10:25 AM CST]
Quote | Post #1350076 (10)
SteveM
Jul 2, 2020 10:38 AM CST
Name: Steve
San Diego
Commercial cut flower grower
Yes, if I ever sell tubers they will be pot tubers, probably grown hydroponically. Maybe next year, when there will be 30 hours in a day instead of 24. Smiling
ImageCosey
Jul 2, 2020 1:01 PM CST
Name: LeeAnn
Zone 6b, Pennsylvania
I've had routine problems storing Rose Toscano, Ketchup and Mustard, and oddly Snoho Doris. I know some people who have never had an issue with Doris, but if it's not processed first it will dehydrate quickly for me. I also lost JS Jenny last year. She quickly softened after digging.
Imageteddahlia
Jul 2, 2020 1:08 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
JS Jenny: I have not been able to kill off mine and keep planting it each year. It is a Spartacus sport via Harvey Koop I believe. I am growing the yellow Spartacus again this year and maybe it will do better. Never liked Rose Toscano and Ketchup and Mustard is one we should grow. Snoho Doris has differnt strains and I like the darker strain. Have not grown it in years.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageIslander
Jul 2, 2020 2:57 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
Steve M so glad to know that the days will contain more working hours next year...so much to look forward to Hilarious!
ImageCosey
Jul 2, 2020 5:39 PM CST
Name: LeeAnn
Zone 6b, Pennsylvania
teddahlia wrote:JS Jenny: I have not been able to kill off mine and keep planting it each year. It is a Spartacus sport via Harvey Koop I believe. I am growing the yellow Spartacus again this year and maybe it will do better. Never liked Rose Toscano and Ketchup and Mustard is one we should grow. Snoho Doris has differnt strains and I like the darker strain. Have not grown it in years.


I should buy in new Snoho Doris tubers. I think the stock I have might be the original stock I bought 7-8 years ago. Rose Toscano is a popular wedding/florist bloom praising it's color, bloom size, and slender stems.

A flower friend shipped me the K&M which she had sitting on a counter for months and it was still viable. Meanwhile, I can't get it to store in a root cellar. 🙄

And my JS Jenny never grew into a robust plant. I expected it to grow like Harvey Koop. It was purchased in and never stored. I'll try a different source next year.

Imageteddahlia
Jul 2, 2020 5:48 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Spartacus and all of the sports of Spartacus and the sports of the sports and the sports of the those sports can have good and bad stock. My JS Jenny is OK stock. The best sport I ever grew was Vassio Meggos and really good stock can be acquired(we no longer grow it). JS Jenny and Steve Meggos that is the same exact flower, are somewhat healthy and the original Spartacus is usually not very healthy.

The best Snoho Doris stock I have ever seen was grown by Parks Dahlias.

Wouldn't you know that the very reason I dislike Rose Toscano is the reason the florists like it. I say insipid color and they say glorious color. It will never be in my garden.
“Flowers are like friends; They bring color to your world.” – Unknown
ImageCosey
Jul 2, 2020 5:57 PM CST
Name: LeeAnn
Zone 6b, Pennsylvania
teddahlia wrote:
Wouldn't you know that the very reason I dislike Rose Toscano is the reason the florists like it. I say insipid color and they say glorious color. It will never be in my garden.


LOL. Well, if you have any of those insipid colored dahlias growing in this year's seedling patch, you can send them to me and I PROMISE to never say where they came from. 🤣🤫😉

Thanks for the Doris source. I made a note in my "2021 Purchase" list.

ImageIslander
Jul 2, 2020 6:51 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Vashon Island, Washington
growing and selling organic cutflow
I should have Snoho Doris growing in my garden. I will have a look at its health when tblooms. I am pretty sure I got it from one of hte PNW esteemed breeders.

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