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Re: Mulch and Rot

>Coming from Iowa where six weeks of -20 in not uncommon, mulch even then was
>a no no.  Iris are a very hearty speci and cold doesn't bother them. I scan
>our beds on a regular basis and remove any leaves that may have accumulated.
>  Bill Mull

	I live in Zone 3a and -40 F is our winter low (sometimes colder)
	and I mulch everthing except established peonies, daylilies and

	I never use straw or hay - I always use pine needles and they don't
	make your soil more acid unless they are allowed to remain after
	the thaw hits in the late Spring (May here). It is probably a
	different story with folks that don't have a reliable snow cover
	like we do....we also don't have the January thaw that others
	have (usually - nothing is written in stone).

	I am doing a little experiment re pine needles and mulch. Currier
	McEwen suggested to me this summer that I retest my soil where I
	have been using the needles (Japanese irises are mulched with pine
	needles all year) because he thinks my pH will not have changed or
	maybe become more *alkaline*! This has been his experience...it
	flys in the face of conventional wisdom or does it?

	My soil is naturally acid - 5.7 pH and I am looking forward to the
	soil 'test' this summer.

	Also, bearded iris do well in this part of the country - the soil
	not withstanding...I just prefer the beardless and the MDBs, of


Ellen Gallagher
Lancaster, New Hampshire, USA
Zone 3a
Maine Iris Society, Iris-l

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