April 4, 2020

How to do this month in the Iris garden

January Iris Cultural Tip

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Spring is inevitable no matter how high the snow banks or how low the mercury. When all threat of frost has passed, remove the winter protection.  If the ground is clear of snow and ice, you may see weeds and grass begin to emerge. Get them while they’re young and soft. Your New Year’s exercise routine has just begun…..squat, pull, squat, pull!  If the garden is still covered in snow and ice, leave winter protection in place.

February Iris Cultural Tip

Continue to monitor for signs of spring, especially weeds and grass blades. Get them while they are still small, with short roots. Once threat of ice has passed, remove winter protection.

March Iris Cultural Tip

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Low iris often occurs in late March, depending on the weather. We recommend you lure bait for slugs and continue throughout the spring and summer. Use a bait, wildlife and pet-friendly! Pull or spray weeds. Let them be as small as they are and the ground is soft! Control the grass and trim away from the iris bed. Remove any winter protection when new iris growth starts to appear. Observe the signs of iris moths if they are a problem in your area. Visit our “How to Grow and Care the Bearded Iris” page to control pests in the iris garden for more details.

This is a good rule of thumb when preparing fertilizers: Use iris fertilizer when tulips are blooming in your community. Bone meal, superphosphate or conventional fertilizers 6-10-10 balance are effective. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for your soil type. Avoid the use of any fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, such as fresh fertilizer, because excessive nitrogen encourages rapid leaf production rather than flowers, and can cause rot. If fertilizer is applied, avoid putting them directly in the iris rhizome, as this can burn and injure them. Application of fertilizer in the roots of plants and work into the soil.

April Cultural Tip

 

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The sunshine and warm days come more often, Jack Frost still teases with overnight chills and morning ice. Spring is all around. Tulips and Daffodils awakening, buds on trees popping seemingly before our very eyes…. grass blades, nettle, and dandelions emerging between our Iris rhizomes, tell –tale shiny tracks left behind by hungry slugs…Spring means taking fast action against our least desirable garden inhabitants.
– weeds and pests. Here we recommend a few tasks to help prepare for a successful Iris bloom season:
~ Spray for fungus, such as leaf spot. Trim affected foliage. Use a garden fungicide. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
~ As soon as you see new foliage sprouting, clear off dead leaves and other forms of winter protection.
~ With bacterial and crown rots, remove and destroy any infected plant parts to avoid the spread of these diseases to healthy plants nearby
~ When Tulips bloom in your area, it is time to fertilize your Tall Bearded Iris.Avoid using excess fertilizer and fresh manure and provide as much drainage as possible. We recommend a fertilizer low in nitrogen, such as a 6-10-10 mix. Too
much nitrogen can increase foliage growth, decrease bloom development, and lead
to rhizome rot. We carry a 1 lb bag of specially formulated Iris food for just $8.95
(shipping included).
~ For areas with Iris Borers, read our page on this topic under the “Tips on Growing & Maintaining Bearded Iris” pages.
Before bloom season, gather your iris for a pep talk. In no uncertain terms, tell them, “You’re here because of me. I’ve cared for you. Now do your stuff. Bloom, baby bloom!”

May Cultural Tip

Bearded Iris bloom season is here at last, and all your year-round gardening efforts have paid off! Enjoy the glorious colors this month. Here are a few cultural tips recommended to keep your Iris beds in top form throughout the bloom season.

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  • Pull weeds out of Iris beds. Get them while they’re small!
  • Bait for slugs using the pet and nature friendly method or product of your choice
  • Remove any diseased or brown leaves, but leave the healthy green foliage undisturbed
  • Dead-head spent blooms throughout bloom season
  • Stake taller stems to prevent them from tipping over in the wind and rain

Remember to take plenty of photos of your glorious blooms, and visit Schreiner’s Iris Gardens during the month of May to view our display garden at its peak!

June Cultural Tip

The last of the Bearded Iris are lingering in the garden. Beardless Iris are showing their silky heads. We recommend a few tasks here to keep your Iris beds looking their best:

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  • Cut off spent bloom stalks at the
    base of parent rhizome
  • Remove any leaves that wither or brown, leave the healthy green leaves throughout the summer
  • Apply a light application of
    fertilizer and water in. Bone meal, superphosphate and 6-10-10 are all effective. Use fertilizer LOW in Nitrogen. Too much nitrogen encourages rot problems.
  • Keep Iris beds free of weeds.
  • Take time to sit back and enjoy your Iris garden before the blooms retreat!

July Cultural Tip

July is the time to reflect on your garden and add, remove or change things around. Here is what we recommend for Bearded Iris care:

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  • Divide crowded Iris beds and replant (every 3-4 years)
  • Rebloomers: divide and transplant every year or two for better results
  • When transplanting, apply bone meal and/or superphosphate to help give the plants a healthy start in their new location
  • Prepare soil for new beds
  • Plant new rhizomes
  • When planting new Iris new shoots from divided clumps, label your Iris with weather-proof plant markers. Perhaps create a map of your garden beds to help identify your Iris year to year.
  • Keep Iris beds free of weeds.

August Cultural Tip

The dog days of August are wagging the tail-end-of-summer. The garden is simmering with the last blooms of the season. If you can get out to the garden, despite the heat, here are a few tasks recommended for tending to your Iris.

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  • In very dry areas, water newly planted Iris once very well at planting time, then again every couple weeks. A gentle tug on the top of the foliage is a good test to see if the new roots have set in.
  • Established Iris beds need very little to no water during the summer. The exception would be “reblooming” Iris, which require more water to encourage rebloom.
  • Divide crowded Iris beds and replant (every three to five years)
  • Plant new Bearded Iris. Mark the plants with weather-proof labels so that you know what’s blooming where come spring time. Consider making a map of your garden.
  • Now is a good time to introduce or add Beardless Iris to your garden. Plant Siberian and Louisiana Iris.
  • Keep Iris beds free of weeds and grass.

September-October Cultural Tip

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To avoid over wintering insects and diseases that can cause rot, and to reduce the occurrence of leaf spots and borers, remove and destroy any garden debris, spent Iris bloom stalks, and brown dry foliage each fall.Cut back remaining foliage to about 6” above the rhizome (this is not required, and is really up to the individual gardener). Trimming the foliage, however, does have its benefits:  the garden appears tidier, and the surface area on which leaf spot (a fungus) can develop is reduced.

November-December Cultural Tip

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Now dormant in the northern hemisphere iris. You can even see the new additions. Clean up old, sentimental leaves, prevent the growth and spread of various fungal diseases. Insect withered leaves are also perfect hiding places.

Evergreen twigs and grasses do a good winter’s protection of the iris, especially in areas especially winter. After the application of frozen period. The undulating soil, due to the freeze-thaw mode, can cause the powder to move. Avoid the plastic film will prevent the moisture of the powder, this environment can cause rot. Remove winter protection in time for early spring when the new leaves begin to bud.