Sunday, September 4, 2016

September and Your Iris

A little reminder about "Iris Chores" for autumn.  

To avoid over wintering insects and diseases that can cause rot and reduce the occurrence of leaf spots and borers, remove and destroy any iris garden debris (spent iris bloom stalks and brown foliage.)

Be gentle in pulling brown foliage and stalks that you don't dislodge the rhizome.

Use clean (soaked in a light bleach solution) clippers so you don't transfer fungus or other disease to another plant.  Dip in the solution between cuttings.  

Trimming the green foliage back to 6 inches above the rhizome makes the garden more tidy and reduces fungus that may be on the leaves.  This isn't a "necessity" but rather a choice.

It's about the end of transplanting or adding new iris for the season.  They will find it difficult to set down roots before winter.  This will make them susceptible to heaving out of the ground during freeze/thaw.

I don't mulch my iris because I don't rake in the fall.  BUT:  if you have lots of leaves and they form a wet mass over the iris rhizomes, it may promote rot.  Adding a straw or pine needle mulch seems to help with the freeze/thaw issue and not hold the additional moisture.  Remove iris mulch promptly in early spring when new foliage appears.     

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