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Re: Stalk strength in Minn. vs. Ark

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Stalk strength in Minn. vs. Ark
  • From: "Walter A. Moores" <wam2@Ra.MsState.Edu>
  • Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 06:50:08 -0600 (MDT)

> What is the 'conventional wisdom' on this?  I'm apt to attribute it to soil
> pH, but I can't figure out what nutrient is unavailable due to the lower pH
> --or is it the lack of a nutrient associated with organic matter, such as
> nitrogen.  (I do not fertilize my TBs with nitrogen--maybe I should, I've
> been 'gun shy' of this because I've felt it would make matters worse).  I
> have a tough time believing that a soil with a clay base could ever be low
> in potassium, but I will soil test.  This is a case where no element is
> 'limiting' but there must be a more complex interaction of acidity with
> plant growth.
> I am under a self-imposed moratorium on TBs until I can figure this out.
> Walter--you've grown TBs in TX (high pH) and MS low pH--what's your
> experience with this?  (Both places had low O.M., I presume.)
	Robert, I have not experienced the condition you describe.
Actually, the soil in both gardens in MS has not been as acidic as one
would think.  The old-timers around here say you can tell how acidic your
soil is by the color of your hydrangea blooms.  Well, in both MS gardens,
mine were pink, and I have to use copperas to turn them blue!

	Soil tests have been conducted and only a small amount of lime was
recommended.  The nitrogen my irises get comes from a balanced fertilizer
(8-8-8 or 12-12-12).  I have always heard that superphosphate strengthens
the stalks. I use lots of that and have started incorporating alfalfa
pellets when I make a new bed.

	Bearded stalks are ok here; it's the La and Ji stalks that can be
too tall and fall over. None have been brittle.

	Walter Moores
	Enid Lake, MS 7/8

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