Re: Cult: Borers and Mulch
I have been growing TB's for about three years and have planted all
of my rhizomes in the spring, with a few small exceptions. It sounds
as though you and I have similar conditions. I'm in USDA zone 6/7
here in Rhode Island, surrounded by wetlands and salt water. Our
winters are very similar as well. I have always used two different
types of mulch, each with it's own purpose. The first is the
permanent,bark mulch which I put down each year in the spring after
the bulbs and new shoots have begun to emerge. The reason I put down
new stuff each year is because the mulch I start with is well
composted and ground to start with. It's main purpose is to retain
moisture during the summer months as well as shield the roots from
direct sun. It is also an excellent additive for the soil once
decomposed. If you are using larger chips which do not break down as
readily, you may not need to repeat every year. (By the way, that
mulch is free at our town compost facilty and is made from yard
waste, like ground trees, leaves and mixed with heavy doses of sewer
sludge which has been composted for one year and tested by Health and
Human Services before the public can use it). The second type of
mulch is leaves, specifically oak, which I put on after the first
hard frost, usually at the end of October or begin. of Nov. It
serves to moderate temperatures throughout the colder months and
protect plants from the thaws we inevitably have until December, and
often throughout the winter. Once the first spring bulbs have gotten
to about 2" high, I rake all the leaves away and let the garden
breathe. Then I wait until the wettest part of the spring is gone to
add more of the bark mulch. I can't remember losing any irises, but
then again, I don't have the years of experience of many of the other
members. Good luck.
--- In iris-talk@y..., lmmunro@h... wrote:
> Now I don't know WHAT to DO..about the mulch I mean. I
> thought 'cedar' because lots of insects do not like cedar, its a
> natural repellant. So...maybe also the borers...
> Also, where I live I would like to give the iris a little more
> protection. Its Northern NJ, zone 6 but really seems colder. I get
> snow...sometimes..and its wet here too(in the winter, that is).
> (Watershed area..lots of wetlands and lakes).
> Once Dec comes around, there is no more green foliage, and
> here? No way in December.
> Last year was my first serious iris growing year. Some new rhizomes
> died and they were alive before the winter...dead afterwards.With
> If you put the mulch AROUND the rhizome, what would you have? a
> little rhizome lump encircled with mulch?? How is that helpful?
> still exposed.
> I know people who mulch and people who don't around here. It
> seem like a definite yes or no.
> It appears once an iris is anchored in well (like after a full year)
> it doesn't die because of the cold.
> Of course, last year I planted in mid september...maybe that
> contributed to the iris loss?? (about 10% croaked)Not bad, but I
> don't want any fatalities.
> Someone wrote a while ago and said she lost the majority of TB's
> because of the cold winter someplace up north.That was pretty scary.
> If I do mulch, I'll remove the stuff before the spring rainy season.
> I think cedar chips are on the large and loose side, no??
> Not that red ugly stuff..but natural big-hunk stuff. That's what I
> had in mind.
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