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Re: Crowding vs. transplant - divide or no?

  • Subject: Re: [iris-talk] Crowding vs. transplant - divide or no?
  • From: Bill Shear <wshear@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 13:53:17 -0400

On 8/28/01 1:16 PM, "unionzone@yahoo.com" <unionzone@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Sorry if repeat --refer me to archives if approp.
> some iris beds getting dense, but can still see
> earth between. Very nice blooming and increase this past
> season.
> When is optimum to divide / compared to the setback of
> the transplant shock?
> I guess I'd rather leave go one more season, unless you have specific
> advice?

This is a neat question and one that has always concerned me.  Naturally if
you thin your clumps, bloom will be less the next season, because you have
taken away some rhizomes.  Some that might otherwise have bloomed will not
if they don't like being disturbed.  On the other hand, if you don't divide
them you may get less bloom anyhow because of crowding.

One rule of thumb that can be applied at about this time of year is the
presence of tiny increases on the rhizomes.  Those that have them will
bloom, those that don't probably won't bloom (a few will anyway).  Count
these up and you should have an estimate of how much bloom you will get next
year if you don't divide and move the plants.  If it amounts to less bloom
than you had this year, you would probably be ahead to divide and replant.

If you do, be sure to add soil amendments like well-finished compost, rock
phosphate, and lime (if needed) and mix well with the soil before
replanting.  Iris rhizomes can remain out of the ground for a few weeks with
no harm done.  Replant only the rhizomes that show increase or appear large
enough to bloom.  The others can be given away or planted elsewhere for
another year of growth.  Even tiny pieces, if well-grown, can reach blooming
size in a single season.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (434)223-6374
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