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Re: siberians - USDA Zones

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: siberians - USDA Zones
  • From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <cwalters@cache.net>
  • Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 19:05:41 -0700 (MST)

Hi Claire, and welcome to The List!

	By the time I got home and read your inquiry about Siberians I saw you
also had a number of responses, all of them containing excellent comments,
so I will only respond to the following segment of your original posting:
>  For the writer in Utah, zone 4.
>  What could be the differences in your zone 4 Utah and zone 4 northeast? 
> are in upstate New York near Berkshires. Consequently - iris interest is
> survivors!

There were some remarks by Lauren Springer, a garden writer from Colorado,
in the March issue of Horticulture, which I received yesterday, that I
think are very pertinent to your question.

"In Colorado (and Utah - JW), as far as herbaceous plant survival is
concerned, USDA designations are meaningless. Many plants, that according
to the USDA map, should be dead in one or even two zones warmer thrive in
our Zone 4 and 5 gardens. In contrast, woody plants' chances of survival
can be predicted quite well by the USDA Zones, because their framework is
above ground and exposed to air temperatures. Herbaceous plants either go
completely dormant or hunker down close to the ground in overwintering
rosettes; here, soil temperature and moisture become the critical factors.
Colorado's (and Utah's - JW) dry winter soils keep crown rot at bay (but
not Botrytis, though this hasn't been a problem with Siberians here - JW),
warming sunlight allows for prolonged root growth, (and usually dependable
snow cover protects against extreme lows in air temperatures - JW)."

Actually, I think Siberians should be an easier subject in your area than
they are here, as we must keep an eye on the pH (tending to be a bit on the
high side for Sibes), and provide regular irrigation all summer. We may
have a bit more elbow room in the Fall, as the cold weather that would stop
the active growth of plants like Siberian iris usually doesn't settle in
until early November.

Jeff Walters in northern Utah (Zone 4)
"This is the Place" - sunny, but sub-freezing all day today


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