Re: CUT BACK IRIS?
- Subject: Re: CUT BACK IRIS?
- From: email@example.com
- Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2001 16:48:49 -0000
--- In iris-talk@y..., Nick Zentena <zentena@h...> wrote:
> On August 4, 2001 10:53 pm, neilm wrote:
[I may try cutting back foliage in] that area of the garden. The
trouble is, that acknowledges the growth cycle of the iris, not the
borer. It's worth a try, is it not?"
Nick Zentena responded: "I thought the idea behind cleanup was to
get the eggs out of the garden. If you cut down the number of over
wintering eggs you cut down the problems next year.--Nick"
As I have often done, I did a logical shortcut there, omitting
several steps in a chain of thoughtful consideration....Let me fill
in the gaps.
In that colder (6b) area of the garden frosts have a tendency to
pond, and iris foliage gets frost-burned long before the other area
begins even to slow down growth. Dennis Kramb's sanitation procedure-
-using cutting back the foliage as a borer control measure--does not
interfere with his iris's energy cycle, as they are in a similar
condition in Ohio as mine are in my 6b area. His are through
growing for the year, but he's talking about early October, an
effective time for borer control by removal of potentially egg-
infested foliage from the garden.
I'm quite a bit longer in season, and by late October or the first
week of November my foliage in the cold area reaches a stage similar
to what his was a month earlier. The borer life cycle, however, may
be timed differently, also due to the latitude and season-length
difference, but if I do the cut back (as I now plan to do for that
zone) I am taking a chance that I may also intercept a vector
(infected leaves) and by removing them also accomplish some effective
My risk is that I expose the rhizomes and crowns of the iris in the
frost pocket to potential winter injury by removing their natural
insulation--their foliage, damaged but still present.
"It's worth a try" was intended to be understood as to be saying--the
risk of damage is of less importance than the chance of better borer
control, is it not?
I'm still learning.....
But all of this is aside from the original question about cutting
back iris foliage--DURING the active growing season. I had a thought
about that a day or two ago that may shed some light on the question:
When was the last time you saw a mowed lawn in bloom? In other
words, gone to seed? And I'm not talking about Dandelions.
Grass, cut back, grows vegetative tissues to replace those lost
(i.e., leaves). Fruiting, reproductive tissue (seed heads in grass,
blossoms and pods in iris) depend on mature foliage present and
having done its job, along with some hormonal and nutritional
balances that are radically disturbed by mowing--or foliage cut
back. That's why I am so adamnt about not doing the leaf cut during
active growth. There's an equation--good leaves now, good bloom later.
Neil Mogensen zone 6b/7a near Asheville, NC
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