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Re: Herbicides That Are Safe for Iris Beds

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Herbicides That Are Safe for Iris Beds
  • From: storey@aristotle.net (J. Michael, Celia or Ben Storey)
  • Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 09:37:45 -0700 (MST)

Albert says:
>Our beds are infested with grasses that I am forever trying to keep out of
>the beds.
>What herbicides are safe for use in iris beds and can be purchased in
>California.  One
>breeder recommends VANTAGE, but I have been monumentally unsuccessful at
>locating this
>product in Concord, CA.
I am uncomfortable with pre-emergents and grass-killers such as Round-Up
and Poast, which many people use here. I think our gardens' eco-systems are
far more complex than is dreamt of in Monsanto's R&D labs. ("Give me spots
on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees.")

My solution is to pull what you can through the growing season without
ripping up iris roots as well. At ordinary transplant time, completely redo
your bed. Take out all the irises and while they're bleaching, drying and
resting, dig out all the grass. Use a shovel and get out the roots. Unless
you have an unmanageably large bed, manual removal of new sprigs as they
sprout should be feasible from there on.

Many people recommend moving your irises to new land every three years,
anyway, to discourage nematodes and other attackers whose negative
influence builds over time.

Non-chemical control may be impossible for commercial growers and bizarrely
ambitious  people with giant yards, but let's not forget how beneficial
stoop labor can be to the formation of work ethic in idle teenage minds.
Why reach for a can of Flit when you've got a 15-year-old lounging
unemployed in front of MTV? If nothing else, being forced to weed the iris
beds will help these aimless youth arrive at reasons to motivate their own
more serious pursuit of higher education and "inside jobs."

storey@aristotle.net  USDA Zone 7b
Little Rock, Arkansas
49+ inches average annual rainfall
average relative humidty at 6 a.m. year-round 84%
more than 200 frost-free growing days

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