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Re: Re: CULT: mulch (was TB: Mariah)

In a message dated 12/23/2002 10:44:27 AM Central Standard Time, 
jcwalters@bridgernet.com writes:

> BTW, PINNACLE is without question the most vigorous, problem-free cultivar
> among all of the 150 or so historic bearded irises that I grow (and my
> growing conditions are not at all like those in New Zealand where it
> originated). I wonder if a cultivar that would seem to be tolerant of
> considerable environmental variations would be the best choice of subject
> for obtaining a representative response to specific cultural conditions.

Your reservation concerning variety selection for mulch trials certainly has 
validity. In this instance it appears to have been a good choice from which 
to draw inferences relative to other irises. When we examine the recorded 
death rates under the different mulching conditions we see that a 700% 
variation existed from the highest death rate to the lowest. If the highest 
death rate and the lowest death rates are discarded there is still a 100% 
variation in the number of death.

Mulching Medium/No. of Deaths
Pine Straw/0
Peat Moss/3
Gin Trash/2
Plastic and Gravel/3
No mulch/4

A number of inferences might be made from just this data. Any mulch except 
sawdust performed better than no mulch, some mulches are better than others. 
etc. One might also be inclined to infer that sawdust is a poor choice of 
mulch from the above. This may or may not be correct. The study is silent on 
the degree of composting (if any) the sawdust underwent or the wood source of 
the sawdust. From the timber sources in the area and the study results, I 
suspect this was a modestly composted southern yellow pine product at best 
but have no way of knowing. This medium is a known to be highly acidic unless 
composted for an extended period of time (years) due to its high resin 
content. Hardwood or composted pine may have produced different results.

Modifying this study to encompass a wide range of varieties would be a 
logical extension. Your point is well taken here.

Bill Burleson 7a/b
Old South Iris Society

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