When I first started pollen daubing, (many years ago) I was given a lot of
free advice. Mainly because I asked for it!
I was told . . . many iris qualities will vary depending on the year and the
BUT . . . branching rarely changes. Either it is good or it isn't! (said
I suspect that the bit of free advice that you have cited was worth about as much as you paid for it - NADA!
In years when we have hard freezes here at the critical stage of stalk development, which I suspect is before the stalks are even apparent inside the fans, the stalks are stunted or at best shortened with reduced branching and bud count. Stalks are also shorter than normal in years when there is an extended spell of much warmer than normal temperatures which abnormally forces growth early in the season (April in this locale).
In years with ideal growing conditions, what I envision as approaching a typical Northwest Coast spring, with cool, gradually rising temperatures without abrupt spikes in either direction, mostly cloudy skies and frequent showers, the bloom is fabulous with stalk height, branching and bud counts far exceeding normal levels.
Although stalk height is not the same as branching or bud count, in my experience there is a strong relationship among them. Since I have stalk heights on my irises, I cite the following as an example:
DREAM LOVER (TB, Tams, 1971, DM-1977):
1998 (ideal year): 45"
2002 (average year): 39"
2003 (unfavorable year): 33"
These were all established clumps (second or third year after replanting), and do not represent the extreme effects of the weather variations in the years cited, as many cultivars had all their developing stalks killed by the late freeze (May 18/19) in 2003.
in northern Utah
(USDA Zone 4)
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