Dahlia disaster!

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I planted some large dahlias this year using a support system that someone (here?) recommended. It consisted of tomato cages that had the lets cut off. You put the cage on the ground, large circle down, and fastened it to the ground with the wire legs that you cut off.
All went well for a while. The dahlia got to be about 6 feet tall and were covered with flowers. Last nigh we had a moderate storm with some big gusts. One neighbor lost his Bradford pear (not that it was a shock). The wind broke off my dahlias about two fee from the ground. They are all bent over and pinched tightly on main stem. I doubt that they could be uprighted and live? Any advice would be appreciated. At this point I assume that the only thing I can do is cut them off at the ground and let them start over.
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Vox, I'd lop off the tops at major damage level, wherever the stems are broken or twisted.
Once the mass of top weight is removed, you may be able to settle things without going to ground level.
Dahlias do root from stem cuttings, so if you want to multiply specific colors/bloom forms, you might have an opportunity in this nasty bash from Mother Nature.
I feel your pain-- some particularly nice tuberous begonias here got the same treatment in a windstorm a few weeks back. I'm encouraging what re-growth I can get just to feed the tubers so I can save them to try again next year.
Sue Western maine
| I planted some large dahlias this year using a support system that someone | (here?) recommended. It consisted of tomato cages that had the lets cut | off. You put the cage on the ground, large circle down, and fastened it to | the ground with the wire legs that you cut off. | | All went well for a while. The dahlia got to be about 6 feet tall and were | covered with flowers. Last nigh we had a moderate storm with some big | gusts. One neighbor lost his Bradford pear (not that it was a shock). The | wind broke off my dahlias about two fee from the ground. They are all bent | over and pinched tightly on main stem. I doubt that they could be uprighted | and live? Any advice would be appreciated. At this point I assume that the | only thing I can do is cut them off at the ground and let them start over. | |
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On 7/31/04 7:17 PM, in article jMVOc.93414$ snipped-for-privacy@fe2.columbus.rr.com,

I haven't done it, but my mom does and grandmother did - stick a bamboo pole/stake and gently and frequently tie the stem to the stake. Gram had a supply of stakes up to 10 foot tall just for this problem; she grew dahlias competitively back in the 60's.
Cheryl
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Cheryl Isaak wrote:

pierce the tubers.
--
Travis in Shoreline Washington

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On 8/1/04 2:35 AM, in article ib0Pc.5396$ snipped-for-privacy@nwrddc03.gnilink.net,

I assumed he ( and most gardeners) would be smart enough to know that.
Cheryl
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Cheryl Isaak wrote:

tubers of tall Dahlia's were first planted.
--
Travis in Shoreline Washington

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wrote:

A ****REALLY**** smart gardener would not put an apostrophe in the plural of dahlia.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

punctuation and grammer.
--
Travis in Shoreline Washington

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This dumb gardener stakes plants all summer as the need shows. I do have a few 15 foot pipe for a small tree or two that asked to be supported. I've also been know to cut tubers in half.... This AM heavy rain pushed the plox right to the edge.
Dahlia are troublesome here but they will winter over as perennial if within two feet of our south facing wall. Yup even after last January.
William(Bill)
--
Zone 5 S Jersey USA Shade Earth sometimes.
There is atleast one word misspelled deliberately in the above post. ;))
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On 8/1/04 1:59 PM, in article pcaPc.7061$ snipped-for-privacy@nwrddc03.gnilink.net,

often something would surprise her!
I have a fond memory of her with this one dinner plate dahlia that must have gotten much taller than expected; she had me teach her knots to bind several of those 10 foot poles together and hold the step stool while she secured it.
Cheryl
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Not always, I plant my gardens so other plants help hold my larger flowering plants up, I don't normally stake any of my plants. Colleen Zone 5 CT
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (GrampysGurl) wrote:

like the idea. I grow vines like moonflower and morning glory on small flowering trees like stewartia and franklinia , but stake dahlias, plox and peonies . Would really like to know more that works for you.
Thank You!
--
Zone 5 S Jersey USA Shade Earth sometimes.
There is atleast one word misspelled deliberately in the above post. ;))
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Vox Humana wrote:

Vox,
Sorry to hear about your Dahlia. I have had that happen to several Dahlias in big storms and what I have done is carefully upright and brace the plant. In cases where the plant broke off I just trim up the plant and let it grow. Sometime the plant blooms that season, if not, you can try again next year (the plant should develop a good tuber for next year if you let it continue to grow).
As for protecting your Dahlias from that happening again, I recommend using the tall round tomato rings and for really tall Dahlias using a tomato ring and a wood stake to brace the plant. DON'T beak the legs of the rings off; stick them as far as possible into the ground (so that the first ring is about 6 inches from the ground.
I have over 60 Dahlias this year. For pictures of them go to my web site http://members.iglou.com/brosen/dahlias1.htm
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Digital Camera: HP PhotoSmart 850
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Depending on how much the flowers were twisted or bent, they might continue to live and grow if there is still some "connective tissue" in there. I have had delphiniums, foxglove, peonies, and other large flowers with hollow stems do this, and if I race out and tie them upright with a bamboo stake and some wire or twine, I have found that often those stems and branches will go right on living. It's worth a try if your entire display is kaput. Otherwise, cut the flowers and make a generous donation of beautiful flowers to your local church, museum, or other place that could use beautiful flowers.

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So far I have left them where they fell. The main stocks are sharply pinched, but everything looks fine. There is no wilting and our temperatures have been quite hot. I think I will let them sprawl because I think If I mess with them it will do them in.
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The sale of those those tomato cages is aimed at the same type of person who buys a Chrysler mini-van. Hopefully, the customer learns their lesson and never goes back. And no self respecting Large Plant (dahlia, tomato) will last long in such a cage. Finally, the fastening method you used had absolutely ZERO reasons to be successful.
The best way to cage a 3 ton plant like a dahlia (or a tomato) is to buy a roll of fence wire - the kind with square openings. Make a circle with your arms and imagine a cage cylinder that size or larger, depending on the plant. For each cage, you also need:
- Two of those green metal stakes with the hooks every few inches. You won't use the hooks, but I mention them so you can recognize them in the store. At places like Home Depot, their in the same vicinity as the rolls of wire.
- A big package of 6" plastic wire ties to attach the cylinders to the stakes.
Make the cylinder. Place it on the ground and rotate it to carve a circular mark in the soil. Take it away. Take a hammer and pound a stake into the ground at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. If you can pull the stake out by hand easily, it's not deep enough.
Put the cylinder in between the stakes and fasten it in place with the wire ties. Three per stake is about right. If you need to reach into the cylinder, to harvest tomatoes, for instance, cut a few holes big enough for your arm. Don't cut where one wire crosses another - that'll leave a sharp edge. Cut an inch away from those junctions, then bend the remaining stubs inward, leaving a rounded edge.
To remove the stakes later, smack then sideways at ground level a few times, then rock them back & forth to loosen them. -Doug

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Live and learn. In the past I just let them sprawl. They did fine, but it was messy. I was thinking about the wire fence method that you mentioned. I'm sure it would be far superior to the tomato cage. The biggest problem wasn't that the cages fell over, but that they weren't tall enough.
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The rolls of fence wire come in 4', 5' and 6' heights. I use 5' for tomatoes. I haven't grown big dahlias in years, so I don't recall how huge they get.
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Mine were at 6 feet when they were blown over.
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Holy smokes! Were the flower stems nice & straight? If so, maybe you should be supplying local florists. :-)
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