Now that it is summer. How do you get your dahlias to dazzle?
Fertilizing in July and early August with a low nitrogen "bloom" food will help those beautiful blooms burst with color. Also, don't let them get too stressed by drying out. So water the roots deeply like 2 inches down (that's where the tubers start) once or twice a week.
If the plants are growing tall and lanky, pinch out the top part of the plant. This will help them to bush out and grow more branches, hence more flowers.
Look for bugs, green lady bug like beetles are not lady bugs, they are cucumber beetles, or seven spot beetles. They eat holes in the flower petals, as do ear wigs. Use what ever insecticide, or organic mix you want. Insecticidal soaps work also.
Spider mites get prolific in the summer when the weather is hot and dry. The plant leaves will start to look yellow at the base of the plant, then turn brown and crusty. Yikes!! Turn the leaves over and if you see teeny tiny little white bugs (blow on the leaves and they move) as well as webbiing, like spiders have... You have spider mites. First thing strip the plant of all the infected leaves and put them in the garbage, not the compost bin. Then get some insecticidal soap at your local garden store and follow label directions. Spray the underside of the leaves as well as the top, you have to hit the mites with the spray to kill them. New leaves will grow if the old ones are removed. This may need to be done more than once throughout the summer.
After all this, don't forget to pick bouquets and enjoy the dahlias!! They love to be pruned, cut and deadheaded. They will continue to bloom all summer and into the fall.
Frey's Dahlias 12054 Brick Rd. SE, Turner, OR 97392
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