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TB: CULT: Shade for plants

> If one were to cut branches from shrubs or trees to shade iris,
> which varieties would give the most shade AND not shrivel up
> and fall over instantly in this heat?  ....
> They'd need to be arching in order to stick in ground
> and arch umbrellalike over the iris.
> --Amy (Austin, TX zone 8b)

Think about which leaves most hold their shape after they come off (or
don't come off, as the case may be) in the fall.  Those are likely to be
higher in lignin (more stiff stuff, you might say) and would probably
hold up best.  Most types of oaks, pines, ?evergreen Magnolia?,
...trying to think what types of trees you have around Austin.  Not the
locusty thingies - too flimsy.  Even a dense network of branches without
leaves might cast enough shade to help a lot.  I'm going to experiment
with all those soil thermometers I bought last year if I can get up the
energy to do it.  Try different sorts of shelters & see how much
difference it makes.

The most umbrellalike are the elms, but they would frizzle to nothing
pretty quick.  Hybrid poplar would probably make too dense a shade cover
and if the wind or rain knocked it down, would sog & smother the irises.

Maybe you could stick a branch on either side and weave a little teepee
over each plant <g>

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8

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