Bad Romance - can this rhubarb be saved?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by arbutustree, May 28, 2015.

  1. arbutustree

    arbutustree New Member

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    Living now in a PNW location with an already long established rhubarb plant. I love rhubarb and have been careful not to overpick, overwater and overlove. I don't think the stand - about 5 of 'em - has ever been divided, and I have no idea how long since it was originally planted, but it has always had large healthy dark green leaves/red stalks in March and by June it dwindles to a splayed, bug eaten, oftimes yellowing sad image of its former self. Aside from carefully judicious harvesting and watering, I don't do anything to it save for a small balanced fertilizer application in February, before it really gets into gear. The stand is in a partially sunny spot, in front of a vigorous array of rasberry bushes (which, luckily I also inherited). This year, my second round in this particular garden, the rhubarb did its amazing thing in March, and now looks to be on its last legs: splayed, dying stalks; yellow/brown, small hole infested leaves; and very little new output. Last year, it had some of these problems, but it bounced back for a second successful performance later in the summer. This year, however, it appears very bad indeed. Aside from dividing whatever survives once the time is right, any other suggestions would be appreciated to resuscitate this rhubarb, or is this a doomed romance?
     
  2. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Rhubarb was once described to me as a "heavy feeder" (meaning it needs lots of fertilizer). Years ago this old farmer said to dig about a 2 ft deep hole, fill it about half full of seasoned cow dung, add more dirt mixed with more dung up to the planting base of the plant. Then plant. Don't know how scientific this is but I've had good luck with this method. ;))
     
  3. arbutustree

    arbutustree New Member

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    Who woulda thunk the way to a rhubarb's heart is through its stomach? Thanks!
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, as might be expected with such a large growing plant these need good conditions through the season to maintain a full presence. Also some years ago British stocks were collected and tested for viruses and found to be loaded with them. After these clones were cleaned up plant size and yield effectively tripled.
     
  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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