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Rhubarb after its 1st summer

Hi Everyone.

I planted two crowns of Rhubarb last March, and they have both done amazingly well. I followed advice and steadfastly refused to remove any of the stalks for this 1st season so I now have a small forest of rhubarb  with lots and lots of stalks . My question is....what do I do with them now???? Do I just leave them to rot down to a slimy mess or do I wait for the first frost and cut them back to ground level, or  should I do it now?  It seems so wasteful letting all this fruit rot, especially when I love a good crumble!  Thanks for your help!


  • Well done :D   Leave them ... the goodness from the leaves and stems will go back into the crown to be reabsorbed and provide the energy for next year's growth ... and you'll be able to gather some of that ... just never remove more than one third of the stalks at any one time, and no picking after the beginning of July ... and you'll always have healthy productive rhubarb crowns.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thankyou Dove....I hoped you might see this and help me out!  Much appreciated.  Only another 10 months for my crumble!!!
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,136
    Once the leaves and stalks have died down you can pile on some garden compost or well-rotted manure which will both protect the crowns from frost and feed the roots for a bumper crop next year.  I reckon you can pick up to mid July unless you have arthritis or gout and will be thus more sensitive to oxalic acid which increase as summer progresses.

    Next spring, when you see the first shoots appearing, you can also cover one of the plants with an upturned bucket, dustbin, planter to exclude light.  This will give you an earlier crop of juicy, pink forced stems but then you have to leave the whole plant to recover for the rest of the season and not pick any more form it.  If you do this, use a stick or label to remind you which one not to force the following spring!
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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