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Re: Cotton farmers and iris gardeners

From: Dana Brown <ddbro@llano.net>

> Anyone who applies chemicals has to go through much training before
>being allowed to apply.  If the farmer allows anyone to apply without 
>the protective equipment or training, he/she is subject to large fines 
>and a lengthy investigation into all aspects of their operation, 
>somewhat like an IRS audit.  It looks like your state is on the other 
>end of the spectrum.
	Yes unfortunately it would appear we are.  Hard to believe that our
farmers are allowed to get away with so much, but, they do.  We also
have a problem in their irrigation method as many are still using the
open ditch method which is a horrible waste of water even when the
ditches don't break and spill thousands of gallons of water down the bar

> It seems to me that a happy medium is in order (you can never find a
>good happy medium, they are always busy).
	Yea, If I could just find one to let me know when it was going to rain,
then I could make the most of my spring pre-emergent application (it has
to be watered in).

>There is a large cotton farm across the street and I have been watching
> him this year.  He sprays one pre-emergent and applies fertilizer 
>twice. Last year he defoliated with a sea-salt solution.  The 
>pre-emergent is done on the ground, the fertilizer and defoliation were 
>done by helicopter.  The rest of the season he cultivated in the rows 
>for weeds.  I have copied his methods minus the defoliation!  
	This is much the method we use here, we clean early in the spring and
then put down a pre-emergent.  If the bindweed gets too out of hand then
we do one very careful spraying of Round Up on it, this year we have
managed to get by without it, and I have the green stains on my fingers
to prove it <G>.  We fertilize spring and fall with alfalfa tea.  The
only other thing we use is Poast to get the bermuda grass.  We have just
applied it to 3 beds and hope to get the others done in the next two
weeks.  Have to wait for perfect weather conditions and the beds must be
freshly watered.

>Cultivation with one pre-emergent seems to be the answer unless there >is a lot of rain.  That's what works for us anyway.  I thought I might 
>add my observations to the brew.
	For us, unstinting use of a scuffle hoe in between hand weedings seem
to work.  Unfortunately while we took time off from the beds for another
home improvement project everything got to big to hoe so now it is back
to water and weed!!  Since I never spray the iris beds with Round-up for
anything other than the bind weed and it is not the big problem at the
moment the old fashioned method seems to be what is in store for us for
the rest of this year.
	Thanks for your input.  It is nice to hear how someone with large
quantities of iris gets the job done.  And a very nice job it is too! 
Short plug here....received my order earlier this week and was very
pleased and impressed.  You guys do good!!
Dana Brown, Lubbock, Texas  Zone 7 Usda, Zone 10 Sunset
Average:   rainfall of 17.76", wind speed of 12.5 mph, 164 days
of clear weather, 96 of which dip below freezing.

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