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Re: RE: Cult-Botrytis

Chuck, you may have hit on part of the solution, i.c. planting deeper.  MANY 
years  ago (it seems that anything for me is  many years ago ! ) when a 
daughter lived in New England  back in the '70s and was new with planting irises, 
she horrified me by planting the rz about an inch underground and THEN mulched 
with  pine needles, chips, etc.And it  worked very  well for her.  I had been 
taught by the guru of our area, the wonderful Harp family, that irises should 
be planted so the sun could shine on  the rz, so  the top should be exposed, 
and to NEVER mulch the bed!   And sometime later, I read that (I think it was a 
flyer about Presby Gardens) that they planted  the irises just under the top 
of the ground, AND mulched -- they are in New Jersey - and again we told our  
club  that they should be above ground , but by that time, we learned that it 
was o.k. to mulch between the rows, not over the rz -- and that I still do as 
well as put weed cloth between the rows with soaker hoses on top and mulch to 
cover that. (with weather we have been having I haven't needed  the hose yet!)  
Also, to  help from heaving, in the fall I used to put a handful of sand on 
top of the rz (building sand - found out the  efficacy of that by using up my 
grandchildren's playbox sand when they got too old for that and building sand 
at the quarry was cheaper!)  That worked very well and also improved my soil. 
and by Spring the sand was washed off into the soil and made it more friable. I 
use bags and bags of alfalfa pellets when doing over a bed, plus fertilizer, 
horse manure, fine minerals ( can't think of the name now)  all  plowed in the 
ground -- on established beds I put (that means I have it put by someone!) 
pellets around  the rz and work it in a little because it is so unpleasant to 
look at when  wet!  Leaf spot is not one of my problems,unless I "import" a rz 
from a garden sale, but soft rot can be if they get too wet. 

 Again, years ago, Ben Hager told me to dust new rz with a mixture of 
terrachloor and benlate before planting - so I had a bowl of that that I swizzled the 
rz in , shook to get off excess, and then planted -- and I had no problems 
then.  Also, I used to (and think I'll go back to that) soak them in 25% chlorox 
for no more than a half hour -- had a series of dishpans, and would move the 
lot to clear water as I added some more to 25% chlorox, and moved them down  
the line so they were in pure water, hosed off and hung up by the roots against 
a little fence or on a hill or something to dry if I wasn't planting that 
day.  Don't use the chlorox too strong  nor too long - I've heard that it delays 
bloom for the next year!

I have also soaked rz several hours or overnight  in MIRACLGRO before 
planting, if they have  "been around" out of the ground for awhile -- to get them 
started so their feet get well anchored as early as possible --- and that seems 
to work.

I think  how deep (or shallow) irises are planted, depends on where the 
garden is -- and  mine are a little deeper than I did  40 plus years ago, they 
looked pretty good the one clear, cold, sunny day last week when I could go out 
without sinking in mud -- that was our only day like that -- we have had 2  days 
of heavy rain and are expecting another.  It has been a VERY cold wet Spring 
(at least  Spring on the calendar) and no way has there been anything done to 
irises since last fall, so I am very apprehensive as to what I'll find on 
close inspection!. --the beds were pristine clean last fall, and everything had 
been dug and replanted - but there are some weeds now and how I wish I could get 
out there and pull them up -- but I have to wait for help to appear! and we 
are halfway through April! 

I really didn't mean to be carried away with this - maybe this should not be 
under botrytis - but as with the TV, you can turn it off!
 Rosalie nr Baltimore, Md. USA. maybe still zone 7!  ryfigge@aol.com

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