Too Early to Dig - But Not Ready to Plant!

westy1941(Boulder County, CO)June 21, 2009

I have to get about two hundred of them out of the way of a major project that will destroy them if they're not moved. I cut them down to 'fans' today and wonder if I can dig and just store in something. Or do they even need to be stored? I mean can I just put them in a paper bag? I assumed the roots would dry out and die if they aren't stored in some kind of medium but then thought maybe all that's important is the rhizome??? I don't have a place to plant them yet. HELP?

Westy

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Perfect timing. Into a bag in the shade. Make sure they go into the ground 6 weeks before frost.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 3:49AM
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madeyna(7/8)

I stored a bunch of iris under a tree last year for a friend for a few months. I put down hay(could have used wood chips or bark) wetted it then layed the iris on the hay,I tried to prop them upright. This is their growing season so I think its probly best if they have some access to moisture and a little sun. I,m hope someone else with more experance will chime in but thats what worked for me.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 1:56PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The reason this is going to work is that it *isn't* their growing season. Bearded iris go dormant during the heat of summer. So it's the equivalent of November or December for a normal plant.

What I would do in this situation is dig them, and put them on flats in the basement. If you know what they are (even if it's just color) make sure you label them. I'd want them back in the ground by the middle of August.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 2:56PM
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madeyna(7/8)

Hummmm ,I guess I tend to forget its not raining every where else in the country right now. Our heat doesn,t tend to start until the second week in July.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:55PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Thanks to all three of you - so much! I am just not familiar with Iris at all but when I got these a few years ago I flipped. They are HUGE - from Schreiners - and I would die if I had to lose them. I'll dig NEXT week and of course label. Everything is on 'hold' because it's over 90 degrees here all week with unbelievable humidity. I'd go back to the cold of April and May in a heartbeat. Chicago can be murder in the summer.

Thanks again,
Westy

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:30PM
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indymom76(5)

Hi Westy, I'm in the same boat here-need to get the iris up and store them somewhere. Do I cut the leaves down all the way on these or just lob some so I have 6-8 in. of leaves left on them?? I can get them back in the ground by August. I probably should leave them in the bags until then, right? Is there any other preparation?? Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 8:00AM
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jemboysch

I have to dig up some iris at my parent's house. I'm going to plant at my house but have to make room for them. I won't get to it until September. Any problems with storing them in paperbags until the fall.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:29PM
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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

If storing for a few months before replanting (which should always be done at least six weeks before you expect frost) leave the fans intact - those leaves are storing moisture and nutrients. They will help keep the rhizomes solid while dormant. Replant ASAP. Often I will pot up new rhizomes in 4" pots and set them in part shade until they can get into the ground. If I think it will be more than a few months (say next spring) before they get in the ground I pot them in 1 or 2 gallon size pots.

Most bearded iris are so tough - they often suffer more form delicate handling than tough love.

Mike

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:50PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Garden of Mu - thank you for the encouragement! I feel much better. I will be storing them for about four weeks and planting in August. Now I need to figure out how to get rid of the borers! I wrote to Schreiners customer service and Annette said to sprinkle a product calle 'Merit' (a Bayer product) on them next Spring but for now I have to soak in a 10% bleach solution (90% water) to drive them out. Only a few have the borer but I want to save them if I can.

Thanks again,
Westy

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 12:55AM
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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

The best way to prevent borers is to clean up all the dead foliage and other plant debris around the irises in fall and then again in early spring. The borers lay eggs on dead leaves and then hatch and head into the fans.

I had some extra fans of Mme. Chereau in 2007 and forgot to get them in the ground. They spent the entire summer 07 thru spring 08 on the porch, dry in a bag. When I found them in March I put them in the ground and one of them actually bloomed that spring for me. Amazing plants.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 5:45PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

G of M - I know - they are amazing....so easy compared to so many others perennials. I wish I had a bigger yard to plant hundreds in 'waves'. I just wish they would bloom for a longer period.

Westy

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 9:51PM
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    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 4:55PM
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