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Re: planting time in short-season areas

  • To: iris-l@Rt66.com
  • Subject: Re: planting time in short-season areas
  • From: Christopher Hollinshead <cris@netcom.ca>
  • Date: Mon, 01 Jul 1996 08:39:02 -0400
  • References: <v01520d04adc24457735f@[]>

Tom Tadfor Little wrote:
> My iris garden in Los Alamos is only three years old. Last
> summer, I dug most of my two-year clumps and replanted. Bloom
> this year on the replanted ones is very disappointing. The
> rhizomes were respectably large and healthy. We had
> a fairly mild winter, and except for one pretty stiff freeze
> just before the SDBs came out, spring weather has been good.
> I'm wondering about timing for planting. My previous experience
> was in southern New Mexico, where the growing season is so long
> that the plants don't get set back much from division, regardless
> of when it is done. Here, it can be quite cool in summer--so that
> even vegetables don't want to grow much.
> I'm in zone 6a, with last frost usually in mid-May. Peak TB
> bloom is in June, with a few late ones usually still left on July 1.
> I thought the "ripening time" after bloom was the key timing factor,
> so I waited until the first or second weekend in August to dig and
> replant. First frost is usually around September 30.
> I'm wondering if this was too late--should I have dug in July,
> even though it might have been just 2-3 weeks since the last
> blooms faded, just to give them more time to grow?
> You folks who live in short-season areas: When do you dig?

Chris replies:

This iris growing situation is almost identical in timing with my own 
area. I have also thought about planting/replanting earlier (ie July) 
instead of waiting until the first or second week of August. It seems 
that planting in August here in zone 6b just does not provide enough 
growing time for the plants to get established prior to winter. My 
replants ALWAYS get heaved out of the ground in the spring by the 
frost (along with associated damage to the rhizome). I have come to the 
conclusion that it definitely is better to try to get them planted 
earlier. The preplanting fugicidal dip treatments are also a good idea 
to protect those single rhizomes. 

For the rhizomes that arrive later (new acquisitions) I will be trying 
the potting routine for their first overwintering that I outlined in a 
recent posting here on the Iris List.  
Christopher Hollinshead
Mississauga, Ontario  Canada  zone6b
Director, Canadian Iris Society
Newsletter Editor, Canadian Iris Society
e-mail: cris@netcom.ca

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