|Evé looks over a tuber mass, recently dug and rinsed.|
Each dahlia tuber you planted has no doubt become a mass of new tubers, many of which have the potential for producing new plants like the ones you grew this year. Dividing your dahlias into individual tubers now will get them ready for safe storage this winter and for spring planting next season.
To find out how the pros divide dahlias, we spent some time with Lynch Creek Farm's go-to guy of the garden, Evé Munguia.
Here's Evé's advice, step by step, on making the most of that mass of dahlia tubers, roots, and rootlets you're storing.
|Look for the tiny pointed eyes, like|
the eyes of potatoes, where the tubers
connect to the central stem.
|Clip away the thin rootlets and|
tubers without eyes.
|Cut the eyed tuber from the central stem making|
a V into the central stem and leaving
a bit of the fleshy stemwood on the tuber neck.
3. Identify the eyed tuber that's easiest to reach and remove with your clippers. If you're unfamiliar with eyes, look for a tiny point at the center of a rounded protrusion. Don't cut too close to the neck. Making a V-shaped cut into the central part of the tuber group will give your tuber more strength and stability.
|The mother tuber will have coarser skin than new tubers.|
5. If a dahlia tuber without an eye or eyes is adjacent to an eyed tuber, and it's convenient to leave the two connected, do. Often it will be hard to separate an eyed tuber and an adjacent eyeless tuber; there's no need to do so. The plant that comes from the eye will benefit from the early-season vigor provided by the additional tuber.
|An eyed tuber and one without eyes can be paired to|
give next year's shoots a good start.
Often when you dig your dahlias, your shovel will break off part of a tuber that extends beyond the main mass. Don't despair if the cut-off tuber is one of the eyed tubers; if there's a significant amount of flesh remaining, it will likely produce a new plant. As long as the cut area is exposed to the air and allowed to dry after the dahlia has been dug, it will heal and harden.
And speaking of the cut surfaces of your divided dahlia tubers: you may be tempted to look for some kind of antibacterial or other powder to dust your tubers before storing them. If your tubers are healthy, they won't need it. Just store them in an appropriate medium. At Lynch Creek Farm, the crew uses peatmoss, very lightly dampened to maintain humidity.
Take good care of those tubers (see our September 25 blog), and next spring you'll have abundance for your garden and tubers to share. Be sure to give some to friends so you have room for new favorites from Lynch Creek Farm.