Winter Care for Dahlia Tubers

Q. I added quite a few dahlias to my garden this year and they bloomed beautifully. Please advise on winter care.

A. Dahlia tubers should be dug up after a few true frosts and after the above-ground plant material blackens. Cut the plants down to 6 inches and dig up the tuber clump very carefully, using a pitchfork rather than a shovel. Wash or dust off all soil and dry the clump in the sun, but be sure to bring in the tubers if frost threatens again. Label the tubers properly with name, height and color of dahlias. Dust with fungicide if desired. Store tubers in boxes of peat moss, shredded newspapers, sawdust or even sand where temperatures range between 35 and 50 degrees. Inspect tubers during winter to check for rotted ones (discard) or overly dried ones (lightly sprinkle a little water on them). Dahlia tubers can be replanted the following spring.