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CULT: Bearded pH


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Message text written by Vince Lewonski:

>   Now I have always heard that bearded irises preferred a
slightly acidic soil - around 6.5. Yet I know that George
Sutton has had good luck growing them in a very alkaline
soil. Apparently there is a fairly wide range that they can
tolerate. Has anyone tried growing them at two different
pHs in the same garden and compared the difference?
<

It wasn't an intentional experiment, but many years ago I tested the soil
in various beds in my mother's garden, to determine the appropriate
type/amount of fertilizer for each area.  To my surprise, the pH ranged
from 5.5 to just over 7 although there had been no appreciable difference
in performance [TBs, arilbreds, & rebloomers].  The two extremes were about
30 feet apart, which would have caused great consternation to anyone who
didn't know the history of the place.

The bed that tested just over 7 had been in a previously uncultivated area
-- a spare lot used for the chicken's run or to contain a bottle-fed calf
or two from time to time.  

The bed that tested 5.5 had been in a long-established garden --
specifically, the former asparagus bed that had been top dressed with about
6" of manure every fall for some 50 years.  

In my own garden, of course, it takes a heavy dose of sulfur to bring the
pH under 7.0 -- so I've concluded that iris thrive under a wide pH range.

Sharon McAllister
73372.1745@compuserve.com








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