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May Newsletter

There is a lot of activity happening in our dahlia gardens! Planting tubers, setting up support stakes, you name it.

We also need to keep informed about the weather for the week. I have the local weather app on my phone. It informs me of high and low temperatures for the week and sends me an alert for frost advisories and warnings.

However, this week in West Michigan has been very hot with temps between 85f and 90f degrees. It is not surprising that dahlias do not like extremely hot temperatures. You may ask, what can we do about it? Well, you can easily set up a “shade tarp” using an inexpensive plastic tarp from the paint department of the local hardware store. I clip the rolled up tarp to tomato cages using wooden clothes pins (the spring type). Air can freely circulate above and around the plants, but new, fragile sprouts are protected from leaf scorch by using the tarp above them. The best thing is you can reuse the plastic tarp as a rain tarp if needed!

Here are a couple photos of the “shade tarps” I have set up! If you go on Amazon, you can also purchase other shade tarps for gardens in various sizes.

Photo of a shade tarp over many dahlias in pots.
Photo of a shade tarp over a dozen or so dahlia pots, partially in the shade.

Last Minute Planting

If you are still planting tubers, you have until around June 15 to get them planted. Remember, tubers need 120 days in the ground in order to make next years’ tubers!

Newbies’ Planting Tips

You may wonder, how long does it take for dahlia tuber sprouts to come up above the surface? It can vary by the type of variety, type of soil, and amount of sun. Generally if the tuber had a sprout before planting, it will come up sooner than tubers with eyes but no sprouts. Many tubers can take 5 weeks or longer to come up! Be patient! Remember don’t water until the tuber is 3″ above the ground. The only exception is if you are near a very warm, dry area. In that case, you can give them a very light watering. Be careful, don’t over-water or soak them; it’s the worse thing you can do. Tubers easily rot with too much water.

First Buds

I find it is more beneficial to the leaves and root system of the plant to remove the first buds. But allow the second buds to open! You will probably see a central bud and two buds on either side. I remove the side buds, to put all the energy into the center bud! This is called debudding. The result is a larger center bloom. If you leave the side and central buds, the blooms will be smaller in size.

Organza Bags

Organza bags work really well for protecting blooms from insects! For some reason, insects like to eat blooms of the light colored dahlias! I buy my organza bags on Amazon. They come in different sizes. I like the 10×14″ size.

Photo of an organza bag closed around the yellow bloom of a dahlia.

Even the largest dahlia blooms will fit inside the bag. I put the organza bags on the buds and use ribbon ties on the bag to tie it shut, like a shoe lace. The blooms will open inside the bags. Organza bags are washable and reusable.

In Conclusion

If you have any further questions, you can contact me via my contact form.

Happy growing!
Paula York
Owner, Lakeshore Dahlias LLC