Spindly rhubarb

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Mo
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Spindly rhubarb

Post by Mo »

I don't know what's wrong with it. My rhubarb has plenty of big healthy leaves but the stems are no thicker than a daffodil stalk. Not sure if I should pick it or leave it to strengthen the root.
I could put some compost on it I suppose (don't like using artificials).
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Freeranger
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by Freeranger »

We have rather splendid rhubarb thriving in a state of total neglect (smug or what?), but two friends have very spindly stuff this year. Looking at theirs I have a couple of suggestions:
1) Maybe too shaded and so forcing itself for light: ours is in pretty much full sun
2) Too much nitrogen(?) - it's by a chicken coop - making it leafy rather than stemmy, creating 1 above
3) A long cool spell in the spring affected it - our just didn't grow, then came up normal
3) Plant needs dividing
4) A growing companion isn't suitable company
I think I'd be inclined to pick it, make sure the plant has a balanced feed, and then see what comes up after and split it at the end of the year.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by lancashire lass »

I'd agree with most of FR's suggestions )t' except - "too much nitrogen" (they are hungry feeders so will thrive on plenty of well rotted manure) I'm inclined to think the plant might need dividing
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Mo
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by Mo »

Well, it's not very shaded, it's next to a concrete drive and used to do well with all the water running off. Probably does need dividing, when would you suggest?

Hmm, google suggests when dormant but also when the soil starts to warm up, which seems contradictory.
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Gwenoakes
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by Gwenoakes »

My rhubarb was not too good last year so I put some garden compost around it and hey presto have huge thick sticks, 15 I have already picked and eaten so far.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by lancashire lass »

Mo wrote:Probably does need dividing, when would you suggest?


I have always done it about January/February (in case March was mild enough to wake things up)

On the other hand, I can remember when there was a minor dispute with a boundary on the first (shared) plot which was the neighbour's line of rhubarb on my plot (the previous tenant of my plot used to have 2 plots together to make one huge plot, and then his friend came to help and gradually shared the costs and workload until the tenant had to leave for health reasons. The boundary line was put back by the council but unfortunately his prize rhubarb was on my side) I put up with them for a year despite asking him to move them but then I gave him an ultimatum which he did during the early growing season, and thereafter I seemed to be plagued by rhubarb coming up on the path and my beds where the (big) roots had got broken while lifting them out. So perhaps they can be moved when the soil warms up but maybe sooner rather than later?
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by Freeranger »

I always thought you divided rhubarb in the winter and should even leave the crowns out to get a bit of cold to them.
Is that not right?
I suppose it doesn't help much if you're wanting fruit this year.
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Mo
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Re: Spindly rhubarb

Post by Mo »

Well I could have a big crop of thin stems and hope it survives.
I fact I'll go and pick some now
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
Sunny Clucker enjoyed Folk music and song in mid-Cheshire
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