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Re: CULT: borers


One of the tricks is to mulch after a week of hard freeze.  That generally means
after Christmas here in southeastern Wisconsin, near Milwaukee.

Then when you are ready and that is after a week of spring weather and that was
the week before Easter take SOME mulch off but not all, let everything warm up
and with an eye on the weather take some more off.  I leave the mulch lay along
the beds for a week or so.  We can get killing frost up until May 30 but not
usually.  I just took a between the plants layer off today, a week after Easter,
but not necessarily Easter.  Rather about the first week of April for me.  Now I
will watch the weather every day and if it seems to be going for a freeze I will
lightly recover.  The Iris do not seem to grow too much until they get the direct
warm sun.  Then watch out.  You can get 5 inches in a week.  I don't have any
pregnant fans at this time.   Just pretty fans looking at the world.

Char, Region 8, New Berlin, (Milwaukee) WI

laurief wrote:

> >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
> mulch.
> 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
> success.
> 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!
> Laurie
> -----------------
> laurief@paulbunyan.net
> http://www.geocities.com/lfandjg/
> http://www.angelfire.com/mn3/shadowood/irisintro.html
> USDA zone 3b, AHS zone 4 - northern MN
> acidic clay soil
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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