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Re: seedling spacing

  • Subject: Re: seedling spacing
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@cox.net>
  • Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 18:05:55 -0500

Donald  --  They do look great, right enough!   Fortunately, the buds-nipped-by-late-freeze doesn't happen much up here, so I can't say anything about that.  As to your spacing question: 
Because of space limitations, I'm forced to space my seedlings only 6 inches apart.  I've done this for years.  There are two major problems with this, as far as I have experienced:
1.  Very vigorous seedlings will begin growing into the neighboring clumps in the second year, so you have to be ready to pull those out at the end of year 2 and replant them somewhere else.  (That's assuming that you're going to leave the bed in place for 3 years, which is maximum for me.)  Even if you're willing and able to do that, individual marking of at least certain (prized) seedlings is also very important when they're planted this close.   Even with laying stout string around the base of a clump and marking rhizomes themselves with laundry ink, I've still gotten mixups.  I find that to be the case more with SDBs than with TBs.  They interlace before you know it.
2.  Bigger varieties tend to overwhelm nearby smaller varieties  --  shading them, competing for nutrients, etc.  If I anticipate from the parentage -- or even the sprouts themselves  --  that the seedlings will be small, I plant them alongside others of small stature.  If I can devote whole beds to small varieties, I do so.  But if I have to plant them in the same bed, I plant the smaller seedlings on the outside rows and on the sunny side.  Even then, a cross may produce a mix of large and small plants, and you simply have to stand ready to do whatever is necessary to protect the little ones. 
I think wisdom comes later, rather than earlier.  I've often wished I had dug a crowded small seedling and given it more space and sun a year earlier than I did.  If it doesn't prosper then, you know it that much sooner. --  Griff
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 05, 2006 3:09 PM
Subject: [iris-photos] seedling spacing

It's nice to have the seedlings grow well. In fact, considering that these
were knocked down to ground level after a major hail storm, these look
darned good. However, I foresee problems. The obvious one is they are too
crowded. Spacing them 8-10 inches apart looks fine when they are 1-2 inches
tall, but good growth and anywhere from 2-6 increases and more increase
showing up every week uses that space rapidly. How far do some of you other
folks space seedlings?

The other problem is they have grown well enough that most of them will
bloom next spring. They are primed to get the bud stalks frozen by the
almost inevitable late freeze. Once again. My experience is that seedlings
will bloom the first time earlier in the season than they will in subsequent
seasons. Not quite sure why. I'm not going to like that.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA

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