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Thin rhubarb stalks

Loz46Loz46 Posts: 103

I took over an allotment 3-4 years ago that had a timperley early rhubarb plant on the plot. I noticed last year that perhaps it was a little less fruitful than previous years, so I split the crown into two this winter, and put half back in the same place with some manure, and planted the other half in a different, sunny spot, again with plenty of well rotted manure.

Once both had burst into life earlier this month, I put a compost bin on top of the new bit, as I've never forced before and was just curious, and I left the other old half to do its thing naturally.

I left the bin on only for about two weeks and removed it on the weekend. I picked two fantastic, thick, long stalks of rhubarb, and although there are plenty more stalks, the rest are a lot thinner. The plant that I have left grow naturally also has thin stalks, although not as long of course, with a lot more leaf.

I read somewhere that they are low on nutrition when the stalks go thin, I was hoping that splitting the crown and adding manure would help with this. Am I just a bit impatient, could the stalks develop thicker in due course?! 

I did remember afterwards that I also read somewhere that  a new plant shouldn't be forced in its first year, but wasn't sure if it counted as a new plant as it was split from an older crown.

Your thoughts please!! :-)


  • Loz46Loz46 Posts: 103


    Forced plant in new spot


    Unforced half in original spot

  • No expertNo expert Posts: 415

    Usually we don't take any leaves from a newly planted crown. A year untouched helps the plant to recover from the splitting and replanting. Most forced rhurbarb has a lot of thin stalks as well as a few fat ones.

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,445

    They look healthy. Probably just needed to establish a bit longer before being forced. They do thicken up if you leave them on the plant a bit longer - as the leaves unfurl the stems get fatter. But they may both be a little skinny this year, until the roots have re-established. It's a very deep rooted plant so you're sure to have broken it a bit 

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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