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planting time in short-season areas

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?



Tom Tadfor Little         tlittle@lanl.gov  -or-  telp@Rt66.com
technical writer/editor   Los Alamos National Laboratory
Telperion Productions     http://www.rt66.com/~telp/

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