Digging, Dividing, and Storing Dahlia Tubers Page 4

Trim the Tuber

Remove carefully with a sharp knife, any excess material around the portion of the tuber on which the eye is located. The two photographs on the right provide a "before" and "after" illustration. The excess material hinders the drying process which may result in rot. Removing it with a very sharp knife provides clean surfaces that are less likely to become infected.

While the two "eyes" are visible in both pictures, they have been outlined with an indelible pencil in the lower picture for emphasis.

In addition to trimming the head, trim all the small roots clinging to the tuber including the root that is an extension of the tuber itself. If the tuber is extremely long, you may cut off a significant portion of the tuber--perhaps as much as one- third.

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Treat the Tuber with Fungicide.

While some believe it is not necessary, I treat the tubers to be stored with a fungicide. I use Consan 20. Some use powdered sulfur or fungicides prepared for use in storing bulbs in general. There are several good fungicides to choose from and most are available at you local retail nursery.

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Let the Tubers Dry.

The appropriate degree of dryness or moistness for storing dahlia tubers is very much dependent on local conditions. In Eastern Colorado, for example, letting them dry for 20 or 30 minutes is typically long enough. If you leave them for a couple of hours, the tubers will begin to shrivel--in a couple of days they will be hard and dry to the touch. This is not the case in locations where the humidity is high. It is best to ask dahlia growers in your local area about the amount of time required to dry for storage.

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Tuber Identification

You must decide how you are going to identify your tubers next spring. Some people mark each tuber (using an indelible pencil--available at most good office supply stores) with the name of the variety. Others put all the tubers from one clump in a plastic bag and mark the bag or put an identification tag in the bag as well. Marking each tuber is time consuming if you have many to do but it is the most reliable, because you can identify each tuber even if they get put into the wrong bag, box, or bin. Make sure you can positively attest to the name of your tuber, particularly if you intend to put them in your societies tuber sale.

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