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Re: Burning off

At 09:44 9/17/97 -0600, you wrote:
>>>We also would cover the iris with straw with the first snow (burning that
>>>and the dead foliage off in the spring).
>Could we get some experience in burning off in the spring?  I know there
>was one local grower (with a large collection of older varieties) who
>burned over the iris beds with a weed torch in spring.  I have never done
>this and always worry that fresh new growth may be damaged, setting the
>stage for rot.  Couldn't that fire get pretty intense if you also burn off
>the mulch?  It seems that burning over is touted as a control for borers
>and leaf spot, the two major iris pests in the NE USA.  Does it really
>work?  What about the timing?
     This isn't a spring experience but....We set an entire bed on fire
about six weeks ago to destroy iris borer. I dug up the area first to make
sure the flames got to all the nasty critters. We then put 5 dump truck
loads of new dirt in the bed and left it for about a week. We are in a
drought and the soil really baked. Then I planted all new irises and mulched
heavily. We have had one rainfall since then. Today I discovered that two of
the old rhizsomes survived and are sticking their bright green little leaves
out. The new iris are growing like weeds as well. I've also seen a bloom
stalk coming up on BELVA QUEEN. I guess my point is that iris seem to be
tough as nails, almost thriving on neglect, at least here in the Chesapeake
Bay area.

Sharyn Hedrick, Annapolis, Md. 

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