Rhubarb failure

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Christine
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Rhubarb failure

Post: # 243001Post Christine »

I pulled a couple of pounds of rhubarb early in the year and they simply failed to produce any more leaves. I know it was probably too dry for them, but even when I watered nothing happened. Now the last sad leaves have vanished.
Anyone else? and what should I do to help them along for next year?

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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 243013Post eco-mick »

heap load of muck on top of it now with straw and wait for next year.

I was surprised with my crop this year as I transplanted my roots into new raised beds - 1st few months they moaned and wouldn't do nowt - now in the dying days of summer with the rain the crop has gone totally mad (ain't picking them either). When these die back in the coming months I will be sticking muck on top and loads of straw and it will be rhubard crumble every weekend next spring to summer lol

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Christine
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 243021Post Christine »

eco-mick wrote:rhubard crumble every weekend next spring to summer lol
Grrr :? just as well my neighbour can't see this! She expects a regular supply of rhubarb and ginger crumble each year - and I've sadly disappointed her this year.
The main root came from a venerable and huge one that I acquired from a colleague some 6 years ago (I think they made a swimming pool in the hole that it left in the garden) and I split and transplanted it 3 or 4 years ago. The Victoria I planted year before last has been just as miserable.
I can pile it up with manure this autumn but whatever can be the cause?

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Flo
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 243110Post Flo »

Lack of water in the growing season and possibly taking too much. You should always leave some sticks on the plant. :mrgreen:

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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 243118Post boboff »

I find Rhubarb really easy to grow from seed, plant in Feb indoors, transplant in May, move following April, and you should be picking in 14 months. As you say though only pick 1/3 of the leaves at a time, plant loads in shady areas so you never have to stress the plant, once you get loads they will bolt to flower in the spring, so these straight away in seed beds and you will soon have a cheap Rhubarb factory!
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Christine
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 243309Post Christine »

Flo wrote:Lack of water in the growing season and possibly taking too much. You should always leave some sticks on the plant. :mrgreen:
And I'm so careful to do just that! In fact, I was prepared to leave most of it on the plant in order to maximise yield this year. I hope it will recover...

Interesting idea, leaving the flowers to seed. Never thought of doing that. Mine produced just one flower head in spring and I cut it off as always. Hmmm

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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246024Post tim_n »

when they get old like us, they get lazy.

Dig it up about nowish, take a spade to the little blighter. Mine was huge - about 1.5 metres2

Split into four (I literally just hacked it straight down with a spade - it looked like four slices of cake), I repacked with plenty of fresh manure (not even rotted) and spaced them out. A year later, again they're about the same size as the original. Just heap a bit more manure each year and chop every three to reinvigorate it. I wish I'd taken pictures so people believed me.

I can't imagine mine ever dying. Just move it to a new house - it looked so sad. Now it's so big my neighbours can reach over the fence and PYO.

Farmers in Norfolk seem to dig it up, leave it bottom up in the frosts and snow and dig it back in, doesn't seem to harm the plant either.

Don't forget the manure - they love it.
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246081Post Millymollymandy »

Some of mine has disappeared completely and the rest which managed to vaguely come back to life (i.e. a leaf or two) after a fair amount of rain in August is all drying out again. I think they need to be planted in a pond or bog or have continual irrigation. :roll: I haven't had anything to pick since forcing them and moving them 3-4 years ago. :(
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Christine
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246104Post Christine »

Cheers, MMM - good to know mine isn't the only case of suffering rhubarb. I'll follow the split and 'pack in manure' advice from Tim - I've never worked out how to add manure, though I know they love it and they had a good few spadefuls when I moved the root - and move some of the root to a shadier and less cultivated spot so the competition is less.

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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246106Post Millymollymandy »

I'm moving mine in the spring - this semi shaded spot is now earmarked for gooseberries. Last year I meant to replant them in our orchard which is much moister and has some clay in the soil but as usual got too busy and never got round to it.

When I first put them in my veg patch (years of good soil there) they were so enormous, although they still needed a lot of watering, that I had to move them! :roll:

Oh well! It's probably my least favourite of my soft fruit so if they don't do well in their 3rd 'home' then I shan't bother and will just let them die off!
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246108Post MKG »

Millymollymandy wrote:Some of mine has disappeared completely and the rest which managed to vaguely come back to life (i.e. a leaf or two) after a fair amount of rain in August is all drying out again. I think they need to be planted in a pond or bog or have continual irrigation. :roll: I haven't had anything to pick since forcing them and moving them 3-4 years ago. :(
I think that might be your problem, MMM. Best thing to do after forcing it is chuck it out.

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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246110Post Millymollymandy »

I thought they were supposed to be fine after 2-3 years to recover. :? They have tons of 'heads' (whatever that is called in the spring) - but then they start to sprout, put out flowers then succumb to the dryness, especially early this spring, so disappear back under the soil and no amount of copious watering can bring them back to life other than a few leaves.

My brand new one is the same.

it's just too dry here for rhubarb. :(
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246115Post MKG »

Yes, they can recover - under reasonable conditions. But I think yours sound as if they're constantly stressed, so they'll tend to bolt as soon as they can. Rhubarb doesn't actually need a whole lot of water, but letting it dry out is usually not a good thing. We have more rainfall than you, but I don't water rhubarb at all, and we get pretty good crops - enough for us and the neighbour from two crowns.

Mulching is king :king:

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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246119Post Millymollymandy »

I can't help it or anything else drying out. My garden is a dustbowl again as we had low rainfall in September so I am out with the hosepipe for 2 hours every evening trying to keep things from drooping/dying. :roll: Mulch doesn't do a lot to help when you have free draining soil and need at the very least 25mm rain per week just to keep things alive. It doesn't help that the mulots (burrowing mice) have been running riot around them either. :banghead:

They always had flowers even when enormous and in the veg patch though - I assume some varieties are more prone to this than others and mine are green stemmed ones.
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Re: Rhubarb failure

Post: # 246130Post tim_n »

Christine wrote:I'll follow the split and 'pack in manure' advice from Tim - I've never worked out how to add manure, .
Take bag o'manure, dump over top. Best time is before the crown starts sending up shoots, or alternatively if your one is currently stem less, now.

I actually planted my original rhubarb into a bed of pure unrotted manure and covered it entirey with a foot of uncompressed straw. Did it no harm what so ever. 2nd year and I harvested about 1KG a week. Still going strong after being split 8 ways.
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