Mark Diacono advises on how to divide rhubarb plants to help them crop successfully in your garden year after year.
What time of year do you split rhubarb?
Dividing. In order to keep the plants healthy, rhubarb should be divided every five or six years during winter, when dormant. Each plant can be split into three or four separate crowns with a spade. Make sure each crown has an 'eye', or a large bud that will provide next year's shoots.
How do you separate and transplant rhubarb?
How often should rhubarb be divided?
Divide rhubarb crowns in spring or autumn every five to 15 years or whenever the plant loses its vigor and starts producing smaller or fewer leaves.
When can I move my rhubarb?
When to Divide Rhubarb. To renew your rhubarb plant, you will want to dig up the root and divide it. Dividing rhubarb plants should be accomplished in the early spring as soon as the soil warms up enough to work it and prior to the emergence of the tender new shoots.
Do you cover rhubarb in winter?
Stems are usually picked in spring, but plants can be covered with pots to produce an early crop of blanched stalks in late winter. The flavour of rhubarb varies in sweetness depending on the age of the stems.
Month by month.
Do you cut back rhubarb in the fall?
Prune back the rhubarb stalks to the ground in late fall or early winter after they begin to die back naturally from frost. Rhubarb may not die back completely if temperatures remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but dead and damaged leaves can still be removed throughout winter, cutting them with shears or a knife.
Does rhubarb need full sun?
Rhubarb thrives in full sun but will yield to light shade. Select a location that gives plants ample room; individual rhubarb plants can measure up to four feet wide and tall. Plant crowns in spring as soon as soil is workable.
How deep are rhubarb roots?
The roots of the plants typically spread over a 12-inch or greater area. Dig around the perimeter of the root system, pushing the spade in approximately 6 inches deep.
Does picking rhubarb encourage new growth?
There's no need to use a knife when harvesting rhubarb, simply pull and twist the stems off the plant, as this stimulates fresh new growth. Forced rhubarb is usually ready from late winter to early spring. The stems will be shorter, but sweeter.
Should you remove rhubarb flowers?
You should remove the flower stems from rhubarb to stop it wasting its energy on seed production in any case, so instead of chucking it on the compost, you could use it, as they do in the far east, as an exotic seasonal ingredient.
What kind of fertilizer is best for rhubarb?
The year after planting, it's a good idea to fertilize your rhubarb plants in early spring, before the plant begins to sprout significantly. Use an all purpose fertilizer - a 10-10-10 formula works well. Compost or well rotted manure also works well as a fertilizer.
How do you make rhubarb grow bigger?
Cut off and compost the leaves as you harvest. You may lightly harvest rhubarb one year after planting small divisions or nursery plants. Gradually increase the number of stalks and the length of time you pick in the second and third years of growth. Expect healthy plants to produce fully in the fourth year.
What do I feed rhubarb?
For the highest yields of rhubarb stems, fertilize your plants three times per year. Apply 2 to 3 inches of composted manure, compost or ½ cup of an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, around each plant in early spring (now). Once growth starts to occur, apply fertilizer again.
How do you prepare rhubarb for winter?
Just keep any mulch away from the crown of the plant, which can encourage rot. To prepare your plant for winter, after the first hard frost, cut back any remaining stalks and dress with a light 2 inch layer of compost, leaves, or hay to protect the roots through the winter.
Should you let your rhubarb go to seed?
Should I Let My Rhubarb Flower? There is no harm in letting your rhubarb flower, but keep in mind that energy the rhubarb plant puts towards making a flower and growing seeds is energy that will not being directed towards growing leaves.
Should I mulch rhubarb for the winter?
Use 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) of organic compost to enrich the soil for the next season and provide crown protection. Protecting rhubarb in winter with a layer of mulch preserves the crown from excessive cold, while allowing the necessary chill to force new spring growth.
Why is my rhubarb not turning red?
You need to do a little maintenance – rhubarb's own debris alters the stem color. Rhubarb is naturally quite sour, which tells you that it is high in acid content – like lemons and limes. However, the plant prefers soil with 6.0-6.8 pH.