RE: Culture: Torching Iris
I had received a query re the practice of torching the iris foliage. I have done this for the past few years with less trepidation each time. In the spring , particularly with the beardless iris, I'm faced with lots of dead leaves that make a mess and are hard to clean up. In desperation I burnt them with a propane torch. It successfully burnt off the foliage but the green foliage looked very damaged and my fears were that I had damaged the plant. I had used the same procedure with some TBs in a big clump. In they looked pretty fried after. They all recovered nicely and performed great during the year bloomed well etc. As a bonus there was less weeds around the pseudacorus and siberian plants which are often left to fend for themselves with the weeds (which they do very well). There also seemed to be less borer and the plants seemed to do better in terms of growth/performance then the untreated clumps. I burnt off a lot more clumps this spring, with less fears and found the sa!
me results. The plants recover well from the flames and the damaged green foliage is quickly replaced with new growth. Again the bloom is very good and there seems to be less weeds and less borer damage in the flame treated clumps. A very large clump of Caesar's Brother that didn't do that well last year, was thoroughly torched this spring and it performed magnificently. The clump of pseudacorus that was torched has healthier and more foliage then the untorched clumps (same variety/same location).
This was done in the spring before strong growth started, although there was some growth starting.
No observations re affect on rot, scorch or other diseases. It does get the garden cleaner, faster then picking off the dead leaves.
Chuck Chapman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Zone 4/5
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