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Re: transplants

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: transplants
  • From: storey@aristotle.net (J. Michael, Celia or Ben Storey)
  • Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 05:11:57 -0600 (MDT)

>If I plan on moving in the next 6-8 mos, do I have any prospect of
>taking any of my iris with me?
Pat, hi. Some ideas:

So much depends upon where you live now and where you are headed.
Your biggest limiting factor will be the new situation you are taking them
to. In Arkansas bearded irises can be dug successfully any time of the
year, because the rhizomes store so well out of the ground. Even if they're
actively growing, if you dig them and let them dry out, they'll go to
sleep. Expect to lose bloom if you move them in spring and store them for
any length of time.
I've moved them while they were blooming - cut the bloomstalk off, of course.

There are variances in tolerance between cultivars, and rhizome size seems
to be a factor. Some will be less resilient than others, and the smallest
rhizomes may benefit from being kept awake in pots. But then again, I've
kept fingerling offsets dry until they were crispy critters, and they've
rebounded. (Some have died after glaring at me for weeks.)

If you'll be digging in frigid weather, don't dash them into your heated
house for storage. Get a cardboard box, lift the dirt wad with the rhizome
and pile both into the box. Carry the whole lot out of the wind (maybe into
a dry basement or an unheated garage) and shake off the dirt there. Try not
to subject them to heat. Hold them someplace cool, even cold, but not
freezing and not wet. Transport them in the trunk of your car or another
protected but unheated vehicle. I'm not sure about the cargo holds of
airplanes. Anyone?

Moving bearded irises in February or March you run the risk of trying to
replant them into frozen ground (depending upon where you'll be living) or
putting them out into thawed ground only to have a cold snap set them back.
Other listers will chime in on this, I'm sure, but I think it would be
prudent to store the rhizomes dry out of the ground (in a coolish part of
your new house, perhaps the unheated garage again) until you get past the
freeze-thaw seesaw of late winter.

Beardless irises could be moved in pots. If you're moving to a cold
climate, I would go ahead and take starts out of the ground now and
overwinter them in the pots in a protected, temperate place and not try to
put them into the ground in my new home until the ground thawed next
spring. Or you could just keep them in the pots through the next summer and
set them out come fall. I'm not sure which strategy is more prudent,
because Arkansas is not a cool climate. If you're moving to a very hot
climate, then you need to know how quickly spring becomes summer and how
hot summer gets.

I do know that during the moving process for both bearded and beardless
iris you ought to keep them at a relatively uniform temperature and not go
dragging them from the frigid ground into the heated front seat of the car.

Little Rock

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