Re: CULT: borers
>I have found that I get quicker growth in the spring if I cover my Iris.
Ah, but quick growth under artificial cover is not something I'm looking
for here in early spring. While I do need irises that grow vigorously
once temps warm up, irises that do so before weather dictates are
particularly vulnerable to freeze damage and rot. I have tried mulching
before with evergreen boughs and straw, and rot was rampant under the
Where exactly are you located within Region 8, Char?
>One more thing I do is cut the leaves after the first frost down to an inch.
>Less to clean up in spring and the plants seems to do well.
In the fall of '01 when the deer were particularly problematic in my iris
beds, pulling up a number of that summer's new transplants and trampling
others, I cut all the fans off all the new transplants so the deer
wouldn't have anything left to grab. 99% of those new irises were dead
the next spring. I don't know exactly what combination of factors served
to kill them, but it was enough to convince me not to clip back fans in
the fall. I have now gone back to doing my big clean-up in spring once
active growth has started. Survival of new TBs isn't great this year,
either, but it's certainly substantially improved over last year. Again,
it's difficult to pinpoint the exact cause(s) of this year's increased
As I have already mentioned, this spring is progressing in a much more
amenable fashion than last year. The deer haven't significantly bothered
my irises at all so far this spring, and I doubt they will. Grass is
actively growing out in the hayfields, and native brush is already
leafing out. I am seeing deer in the hayfields every night now, but they
seem uncharacteristically disinclined to wander into the yard. My two
new canine kids could have a little something to do with their
reluctance. These active youngsters don't ignore Bambi the way our
geriatric canines do. ;-)
I no longer allow myself more than a moment of disappointment when I come
across a lost iris in my beds. I now just look at the empty spot and
eagerly anticipate who its next occupant will be. I think perhaps I get
as big a thrill out of seeing a first year iris send up a fan after its
first winter here as many of you get out of seeing a first year iris
bloom. Bloom to me is the inevitable ... if not eventual ... reward for
keeping an iris alive. The primary goal here is survival. All else will
come in time. Iris gardening is enjoyable for me on a level of personal
challenge rather than guaranteed success.
Or maybe all of that is just so much hot air and I'm just really excited
with all the little fans I'm uncovering during my bed clean-up. ;-)
Happy irising, everyone!
USDA zone 3b, AHS zone 4 - northern MN
acidic clay soil
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