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Re: HYB: New Hybridizing

I hope our experiences in different climates and growing conditions
encourage new hybridizers to keep trying if they don't have success the
first year.  You may have special considerations for your particular
combination of climate, soil, and life (i.e., you can't be there at
particular times of day or you don't use insecticides).

Humidity above 20% and temperatures below 80oF, fresh pollen and fresh
blooms seem to be the keys to success.  I figure if I can get pollen to
sit on the stigmatic lip <before> it's really ready, at least it will be
there when the right time comes.

It took until last bloom season for me to think I at last have some
'feel' for when a stigmatic lip is receptive and pollen is good here.  I
began extensive daubing after 1996, the year this forum started, thanks
to encouragement from folks here.

In spite of all the wonderful advice & answers to questions here, plus
watching experienced local hybridizers, the issues of dew damage and
pollen eating insects are two things I had to figure out for myself.

I suspect these are problems somewhat unique to my location and growing
plants without insecticides.

Heavy dew becomes more of a problem in our climate as the season
progresses, temperatures go up, and the air can hold more moisture to
condense on plants.  Since early bloom is often damaged by late freezes
here, and late bloom is often affected by dry soil and high
temperatures, opportunities for successful crosses are squeezed into mid
season.  And it becomes more important to grab pollen before bugs and
dew get to it.  I usually collect it the afternoon before making crosses
the next morning.

With heavy dew, it's also sometimes hard to get the pollen on the
stigmatic lip without getting dewdrops all over everything.  Easiest
blooms are those that have just opened that morning, and haven't been
open long enough for dew to settle.

<                   I remember reading somewhere that iris pollen grains
explode when
                   they come into contact with moisture.  Once exploded,
they are no
                   longer viable.  So storing pollen somewhere cool and
dry until you
                   are ready to use it is definitely the way to go.  I
find fresh pollen
                   (up to 3 days old) works best.

                   The bloom you are putting the pollen on should have
opened that
                   day.  I have tried in the past to pollinate blooms
that opened the
                   previous day, but still had a moist-looking stigmatic
lip.  In this
                   climate, those crosses never take.
                   It is usually too late by late afternoon, unless the
bloom is just opening.

                   Ann Head
                   South Australia>
Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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