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Gulf Coast Update


From: <RMTURLEY@aol.com>

Hello all,

We are experiencing rain at the moment.  The first real rain in 10 weeks of
very dry weather.

CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE, AUTUMN TRYST & DUKE OF EARL are blooming now.  All three
cultivars have two scapes each.  BREAKERS sent up another repeat scape also.

Needless to say, what they look like in this heat, sun and drought even with
regular watering!

I did not think CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE was going to grow here.  It barely grew
after planting last August/September.  I order it from two different vendors
so I know it was not a fluke of it being a bad rhizome.  I notice a strong
difference in growth habit in the winter.  There are many evergreen types and
dormant types among bearded iris cultivars.  CE is a strong dormant and did
not start growing until midseason here along with a few others.  We had mild
winter without frost and that may be one reason with a poor start.  The winter
growers seem to do better here than those with that sit the winter out.  

I grew Bearded Iris in two locations this year.  Those on garden rows with
Surflan for weed control and those grown in organic raised beds.  

I had bacterial rot to show up in the raised beds with OM.  No leaf spot
though.  

Those on rows had no bacterial rot incidence!  There was some leaf spot notice
but nothing serious.  What I did notice on the rows was Southern Blight
showing up taking out the older foliage.  No damage to rhizome was noticed.
This hot dry weather encouraged the SB!

I did not lose any iris from rots, but did do some treatment for a couple.
The Early thru Midseason bloomers seem to be cultivars to grow as they bloom
when the weather is cooler and bloom quality is good.  Rebloom is definitely a
must for extended bloom in late fall and winter bloom.  Summer bloom is
useless.

Irises needing cold to bloom in the spring are poor choices for my area of the
Gulf Coast!  Winter growers are the best performers.  Foliage is very nice to
observe with its hues of light green thru bluish green.

Low nitrogen with good P and K fertilizers with dolomitic lime added to a good
garden loam soil works well for me.  Surflan for clean culture is a must.
Raised beds or rows for good drainage is very necessary.  


Robert Turley
Lake Charles, LA
Zone 9a


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