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How much can a dahlia take?

My poor dahlias are just green stumps with no leaves. They have been eaten down to the ground at least twice this years dispite me scattering ferric pellets around them. I am getting worried that they will just run out of steam if they dont develop foliage soon. One has been in the ground for two years and the second for one and I would be quite miffed if they would die not because of the weather but because of slugs! Thinking of bying some pet bottles just to be able to make some chaeap closhes for them. Previous years they have just outgrown the slugs but not this time.

So will they surive if they don't develop proper foliage this yaer?



  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

     I would imagine they will survive one year without foliage but your biggest problem will be rotting, if it does not stop raining. I will be taking mine out of the ground this winter.

  • I have to admit to having dug up a few plants, such as a lobelia that was eaten back to a stump, potted them up and put them temporarily into protective custody in the garage (it's light in there)! I'm hoping that will give the victims time to recover a bit before I put them outdoors again.

    I'm not sure if a cloche would be 100% protective because don't slugs also live below the soild and could tunnel up into the cosy cloche and nibble away in peace?

    It's just such a dreadful summer and I do hope your poor dahlias make it through.

  • Hello Swedboy,

    You could try using some nematodes. They work really well, but they are expensive and they don't last forever. Now is the time to water them in though. They like warmth and wet soil. Hopefully you might get some foliage that way. You'll need it to photosynthesise and provide food for the tubers, even if you don't get any flowers this year.

    Emma team



  • SwedboySwedboy Posts: 394

    I think I wont go down the nematode route as it is a bit expensive. At least there are green stems and some very small leaves so some kind of photosynthesis is going on. I'll move the plastic bottles I use as closhes for my tomates next week as I think they are now so big they should be able to survive...

  • I know how you feel, I am so struggling keeping on top of the battle with snails and slugs. 

    I have taken to going out and collecting them all in a bucket of salty water, its alarming how many I am collecting from my small garden

  • SwedboySwedboy Posts: 394
    Maybe I should start the ale traps again. My slugs prefer that to lager.
  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489

    The idea of real ale snobby slugs has cheered me up! image

    The best way to get rid of them is to go out at night with a torch and something sharp. Sounds horrible but in my limited experience it's the best and most effective way and you don't run the risk (or possible risk) of poisening any other wildlife (not that I'm against using the safer pellets).

    In my first year as a gardener I had two Dahlia's completely stripped, I moved them to a drier part of the garden, took some action against the slugs, and the plants grew back and flowered that year.

  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,058

    I grow my 'best' dahlias in pots, after losing some in a 'normal' year, but even those are struggling this year with the slug/snail attack, despite copper rings around them.

    Have pulled up the majority my 'bedding' ones- very inexpensive from Aldi- because they were just skeletons. I never planned to try & keep them over the winter, but it would have been nice to have had the choice.image

    Nematodes are on the list for next year. I've used them in the past with good results, but not cheap. J.

  • You could try putting a ring of sharp stones around the plants,I have found that this works,Also the best tip I have been given,is....wait for it....broken eggs shells....yes this works.....when you get the egg shell,try and dry it out first,as when you break them into smaller pieces,the are sharper,slugs etc dont like to scratch their

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