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CULT: New Rhizome Size, Quality, and Care

From: HIPSource@aol.com

In a message dated 7/17/99 4:30:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
akasha@midusa.net writes:

<< and boy are the rhizomes big and beautiful. >>

Just a gentle reminder to any novices among us that bearded iris rhizome size 
is not in itself an indication of rhizome quality. Size varies acording to 
where they are grown, and the variety, as well as how well they are grown.  
Eastern rhizomes are typically smaller and denser than those coming from the 
west coast, although both may be well grown and develop into fine plants. And 
some varieties produce sweet potatoes, some butterbeans, comparatively 
speaking, regardless of where they are grown.  

The received wisdom is that in the east larger west coast irises should be 
dried out for a week or two before planting to avoid problems with rot. This 
risk is thought to be lessened if you pot them up before planting and let 
them develop root systems. There is a good deal to be said for potting up, 
not the least of which is you can hold everything untill all has arrived and 
then in them deal with the lot of it. I'm not going into the mechanics of, or 
diverse heated opinions upon, potting up new rhizomes since you can read all 
about it in the Archives at http://www.mallorn.com/lists/iris-l/. I'd use pot 
or potting as a search term.

Now I will pass on one little thing that was real useful for me to learn when 
I first started with bearded stuff. If you get odd little scooped out 
depressions on the surface of the newly planted rhizomes, like a mini-melon 
baller at work, it is probably crickets. Just dust some Comet scouring powder 
in the holes and over the surface of the rhizome, and if they persist, which 
is not likely with the Comet there, kick a bit of soil over the top of the 
rhizome. If you have crickets, and you got in succulent new rhizomes, you may 
well find this damage after planting. Around here rhizome arrival time 
coincides wonderfully with high cricket density time  and you just have to 
take some of this mess in stride. 

Anner Whitehead

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