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TB: CULT: Shade vs. Sun Quandary


Message text written by INTERNET:iris-talk@egroups.com
Amy fm Austin wrote

>The ideal, I have discovered, is to be planted under
a spreading deciduous tree. <

I have a 62X28 semi-circle iris bed that was created in 1960 with iris
around the outer edges. Over the years, my iris health and bloom have
decreased   At one time I blamed the decrease on invading  cottonwood tree
roots.  Down the cottonwood came and roots removed -  I had a bloom
increase for a few years.  About 15 years ago, a pecan volunteer came up in
the center of the curved edge.  As it grew it created marvelous shade over
the bed & driveway.  I can now start working in the bed in the morning and
be in the SHADE all day.  I had never considered it might be shading my bed
too much. 

Two years ago, I moved many of my non-blooming/non-increasing iris to my
vegetable garden - it is shaded late in the afternoon by another pecan
tree.  Some of the rhizomes were no larger than my little finger. They are
shaded by another pecan tree late in the afternoon.  This year the plants
were healthy, the rhizomes plump and large and almost every clump bloomed
on taller bloom stalks than I had become accustomed to.  I had iris bloom
that hadn't bloomed in years.

At the same time I moved those puny iris, I dug, divided and added
supplements to the soil of the ones I left.  The plant health didn't
improve and had about a 30% bloom rate - no better than in past years.

Pecan trees don't have a shallow root system that would affect the flower
bed.  I now think that although iris and other sunloving plants benefit
from some shade during the middle of summer, perhaps there can be too much
shade even from a deciuous tree.  

This year I plan on having the limbs of the tree cut back severely.  If
that doesn't help, I suppose the tree must go the way of the cottonwood. 

Mickey Corley
Bethany, Oklahoma       Zone 6/7 where sun rays are pretty intense


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