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Re: CULT: fall cleanup

  • Subject: Re: CULT: fall cleanup
  • From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 10:19:14 -0400

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

>I have read somewhere that rhizomatious plants do not take food from the
>leaves in the way that bulbous plants do. If that is so, then the amount of
>foliage on TBs would not be a consideration in whether one was gong to trim
>down or not.
>I would certainly like to know whether what I read is true...

This is nonsense.  The more foliage left on, the more food goes to the
rhizome.  The bigger the rhizome, the greater chance it will bloom.
Rhizomes (thick ones as in bearded irises) are storage organs, just like
bulbs, and without foliage cannot grow.

There's no good reason to trim irises in the fall or any other time unless
you are having problems with leaf spot.  Otherwise, let the foliage die off
naturally and pull away the dead leaves.

Cleaning up in the fall and again in spring is another matter entirely.
There will be more dead leaves in the fall, as well as other garden debris.
Removing and burning this stuff is the most important step in controlling
pests and diseases.  But there is no good reason to cut the healthy, green
foliage down.  I am always surprised at the persistance of this myth that
iris foliage must be cut down.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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