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Re: CULT: Dividing Irises

  • Subject: Re: CULT: Dividing Irises
  • From: Linda Mann <lmann@volfirst.net>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 09:35:26 -0500

Several talkers have said, more or less:
<you can't move "bareroot" iris without sacrificing the bloom.>

Since so many folks have said this, it must be generally true, but it
certainly isn't always true.

A few years back, Christy (Maverick) Hensler sent me some bareroot
divisions of a handful of unknowns (one of which turned out to be
ROCOCO) in March (I think that's right) after our usual late murderous
winter/spring freeze and they bloomed just fine.  So these were not only
dug, divided, fans & roots trimmed, they were shipped from the west
coast to Tennessee.  ROCOCO had already started forming a stalk (not
visible, but it could be felt at the base of the fan).

I would think that more tender treatment (minimal damage to roots &
fans, careful planting & maybe some root booster soluble fertilizer &
protection from sun & severe cold) should work fine in areas where the
ground isn't frozen.  What I wouldn't recommend is digging & dividing
right before bloom, at least for the mid or later blooming TBs - temps
tend to be too high & growth demands for moisture & nutrients are at
their maximum.

I admit I haven't done much digging & dividing at this time of year, but
have moved many irises as Betty suggested - moving the whole clump.  In
fact, this is the only way I have been able to get transplanted Siberian
irises to live here.

I wonder if the reason so many have experienced loss of bloom with
pre-bloom dividing might be because the clumps that were dug were so
crowded that few blooms were set in the rhizomes the preceeding
spring/summer?  Or if roots were so badly damaged that moisture/nutrient
stress aborted bloom?

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8

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