Rhubarb planted too deep?

molanic(Zone 5 IL)April 14, 2014

I had the old standby "victoria" green rhubarb for a few years but found the stalks to be very large, tough, and stringy. It did not look very appetizing when cooked either. It also would try to flower almost immediately every year past the first year. So a couple of years ago I replaced it with "crimson red". That sent up very small shoots that I did not harvest the first year, and only a few the second year.

It is much smaller and not as vigorous as "victoria". Last year shortly after emerging in the spring, the shoots started rotting at the soil level and I thought it had died. It finally did start to send up some new growth, but then the crown seemed to be very low in the soil. I let it grow without harvest all season. Now it has just started to grow again and seems to be quite low in the soil again, like the crown is at the bottom of a shallow bowl. Our soil has a clay subsoil that retains a lot of water. Should I try to raise it up? Should it be planted more on a mound for drainage? I always thought rhubarb could be low since many people dump shovelfuls of composted manure right on top of it for fertilization.

If I should raise it... should I dig it out to replant, or just try lifting it a few inches with a fork and packing some more soil underneath. I know rhubarb is supposed to be idiot proof :)

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Can you just carefully clear some of the soil around the base of the crown? Fingers would be the least damaging way to do it.

If the soil is too hard to clear it away then yeah I think you will need to at least raise it. I'd try coming in at a deep angle for the side say 8-10" away from the base and losen the clump from the soil. Work around it carefully until the whole crown will raise up enough to work additional soil in below it.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:16PM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

Thanks. I will first try pulling away some of the soil and when the ground dries up a bit see if I can lift it a little.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:11PM
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