rhubarb problems

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by oldasrocks, May 16, 2017.

  1. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    Last year I planted 6 hills of Red Rhubarb. This spring it has turned into white rhubarb. Does anybody have any ideas of what went wrong? Other indicators are small stocks and going to seed right away.

    Soil lacking something? Correctable?
     
  2. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

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    That is just weird, isn't it?

    I looked through the possibilities on Rhubarb Central and saw that there are diseases that rhubarb can get. One thing that is most likely to bother rhubarb is a very wet spring.

    http://www.rhubarb-central.com/rhubarb-diseases.html

    This web site seems to have lots of information about rhubarb, including recipes.

     

  3. tsrwivey

    tsrwivey Supporting Member

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  4. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    Plants came from Wal-Mart. They are in a raised bed- 8 ft circle. A couple of the plants look healthy but a couple others are real spindley. I did put old rugs down between them to keep the weeds down. Maybe they are staying too wet?

    Another raised bed in another location also turned into white but a 3rd older one is nice and healthy red. Same dirt mixture in all 3 beds.
     
  5. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    I think I found the problem. Some dummy put down old rugs to keep the weeds down. That same dummy figured all this rain we had would soak through the rugs and water the plants. On removing the rungs I found the soil to be bone dry so the water was evidently just running off the raised bed. Maybe the stress caused the rhubarb to turn white?
     
  6. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

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    I am wondering if the stress of no water caused the plants to think they needed to reproduce before they croaked?
     
  7. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    Reproduce is one thing. Turning red to white is another.
     
  8. terri9630

    terri9630 Internet Princess

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    Have you done a soil test? It could be a form of chlorosis.
     
  9. ClemKadiddlehopper

    ClemKadiddlehopper somewhat moldy

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    Rhubarb is tough to kill. My rhubarb in raised beds looked like it died off during the drought last year (no water for 6 months) and it is up and looking good this spring like nothing happened. It may be possible the carpet is leaching chemicals, or not knowing, where did your soil for the bed come from?

    If you have been picking the rhubarb and breaking off the stems instead pulling them away from the base unbroken, rhubarb cooties can get a foothold. Remove all of the unhealthy stems even if there is nothing left and try again or dig up the root and dust it with sulphur and replant. If there is any life left it will regrow no matter how hard you try to do it in.

    Look on the local internet rag such as craigslist or whatever it is down there and you will find you can pick up a rhubarb plant for the digging this time of year. Get a big gnarly one, divide it six ways to Sunday and replant.

    Don't pick rhubarb when it is wet, remove the old outer leaves and minimize harvesting the first year unless the plant is very prolific, and even then keep it to a minimum; just enough to keep younger stalks and keep it from going to seed.

    When rhubarb stalks are getting old, they will turn white and go limp. In this case it is usually the outer stalks. Rhubarb is a heavy feeder and likes lots of animal compost. Just don't use any that might have been run through a critter that was fed hay sprayed with grazon or its country cousins.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
    oldasrocks likes this.
  10. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    My horse manure comes from a guy that stables horses. 3 yrs ago I hauled in 5 dump truck loads of older manure and piled it to cook more. He raises his own hay and careful of what chemicals he uses because of the horses. The main problem with horse manure is it locks up as it rots the vegetation content.

    May be nothing left to worry about with the storm going on. The dogs got me out of bed at 3 am and still up. Can't see anything as it's dark but sounds like the end of the world out there.
     
  11. ClemKadiddlehopper

    ClemKadiddlehopper somewhat moldy

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    This could very well be your problem. How is the the rest of your garden doing? If it is a toxic spray issue, your whole garden will show stunting and curling leaves. There is a simple bean sprouting test you can do to find out if you have this issue. Just look up contaminated compost and gardens and you will find plenty of explanations.

    Horse owners these days tend to feed only the 'best quality' grass hay. To get this grass hay weed free, it is sprayed. Grazon (a brand name) has now been shown to last up to five years and longer. It doesn't leach out. The only way to get rid of it is to dig up the contaminated soil and replace it with a verifiable source of non-sprayed soil. Grass will grow but not much else that is not in the grass family. Corn is a grass for example.

    This is an on-going problem that is destroying gardens and lawns everywhere. Commercial composters cannot guarantee all their sources of manure and they too are getting burned as they are increasingly being left with an unusable product they can no longer get rid of as people are slowly wising up.
     
  12. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    The rest of the garden, same soil, is doing fine. Other rhubarb in a different location is bright red. Peas, tomatoes, peppers, zukes, carrots, cukes, roses, asparagus, and corn doing w

    In Missouri you have to manufacturer your own dirt or go between the rocks in the clay.

    I tested for trace elements and nitrogen and added accordingly. I can get pure nitrogen from a farm supply store.
     
  13. ClemKadiddlehopper

    ClemKadiddlehopper somewhat moldy

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    Thats good news.

    It is not recommended to use chemical fertilizer during the first year of planting rhubarb. Rhubarb also does not like super warm climates. It prefers temperatures below 40F for winter and less than 75F for summer. Also, check the soil ph although I don't find rhubarb to be all that fussy and it usually grows like weed.

    Just throwing out possible fixes. Maybe try another plant from a different source and stick it a corner somewhere away from the original bed and see what happens, replant another one in the original bed as a control. One can never have too much rhubarb if both succeed. I have twenty plants just for personal use and want more.
     
  14. crabapple

    crabapple I sold my soul to the internet

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    Have not grown this veggie, as of yet.
     
  15. oldasrocks

    oldasrocks Well-Known Member

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    Mince, add strawberries and make a pie worth dying for!

    Mine are still growing and looking better with the warmer weather but still white. I'll take the above advice and plant a couple more.