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CULT: moving iris question

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: CULT: moving iris question
  • From: storey@aristotle.net (J. Michael, Celia or Ben Storey)
  • Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 20:28:21 -0700 (MST)

Sharon asks:

>We plan to move to NE Washington
>next april or may, and wonder, how do we move the irises?  When to dig them
>up to transport?  How to store them during the 2 weeks or maybe more when
>they will be out of the ground?

You'll be transporting your babies during flower season, which is sad but
better than leaving them behind, right? :-) I'm sorry to say I've
transplanted iris in spring and summer both. My experience is they'll do
survive no matter when you uproot them. Dig carefully, keeping as many
roots intact as possible (although you may want to trim some of those
2-foot creepers so you don't wind up with unmanageable tangles). Pretend
you are lifting them the way you would to divide them in early fall. Shake
off the dirt and wash them. Trim the foliage to about 6 inches. Write the
name of each cultivar on a blade of the remaining fan in indelible ink.

If you have a rot problem, soak them thirty minutes in a dilute bleach
solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). Set the rhizomes out in the sun
until they're good and dry. Really dry.
Then wrap them in newspaper and bag or box them. or just pile them into
brown paper bags. Don't wrap them in plastic bags, because you'll get
condensation while changing climates.

Dry rhizomes will keep for months - years - in suspended animation. They
don't love it, and if you let them go for years, you may lose one or two.
But most will survive and thrive in their new beds.
Don't expect any flowers the year you move, of course. You may or may not
get some the next season, I don't know how it works in Washington. Around
here, you'd have plenty of flowers the next season.

Someone from the NE Washington area should chime in here with advice about
preparing for planting. If that area is prone to a particular disease, you
may need to soak them in some prophylactic potion before planting, which I
would do soon after I arrived, but which doesn't, realistically speaking,
absolutely, positively have to be done until you're good and ready. :-)

storey@aristotle.net USDA Zone 7b
Little Rock, Arkansas

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