What is the best mulch for Bearded Iris?

terry_upstate_ny(5)June 14, 2010

I have been planting Bearded Irises for several years, but I usually do not use a mulch because I thought that the rhizome is not supposed to be covered. Is it ok to cover the rhizome with a mulch? My irises don't bloom every year, some have not blooomed at all although they have been growing for a couple of years.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

on my pure yellow mineral sand.. with incredibly high drainage.. and otherwise bone dry ..

i have no problem with wood chips ... pretty heavy also ..

since i grow the iris in the conifer beds ... they get no supplemental water.. and no fert ... nothing.. nada ... nil.. zero .. etc .. [except at planting of course]

the sand is so dry by mid july .. that it becomes nearly water repellent without the mulch ...

i think the key .. and i welcome correction or observation ... is that the roots need moisture.. but the rhizome want to basically be dry ... too much moisture.. and they tend to rot ...

am i spot on.. or way off base??

if spot on.. the issue is not so much the mulch.. but how it all works with your soil.. your drainage... and how it all coalesces in your garden ...


here is a pic .. too bad they werent in bloom ...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:34AM
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bari26(6 (Cape Cod))

Don Spoon, of Winterberry Gardens irises, once (or twice) told us that you could use Pine Bark mulch on iris beds (not too thick, though).... I do use it here on Cape Cod, but the soil is basically sand (I add a lot of top soil and Compost/Humus (sp?)), so the drainage is good.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:20AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I have the large pine bark nuggets mulch on my TB iris beds. It is the only place that I use them. They are too big for any of my other beds but are great for the iris.

Ken, your garden is lovely.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:40PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Ken- what is that wonderful thing with the white tips in your garden? I have never seen anything like that in my life. Just breathtaking.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 9:39PM
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Can the pine bark cover the rhizome? Beautiful picture Ken.
Thanks for your suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 2:34AM
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bari26(6 (Cape Cod))

Well, too bad I didn't have the sense to ask Don about whether the pine bark could/should cover the rhizome... but, if I were to guess, I'd say it's probably best not to cover the rhizome (if you can help it.... mine somehow usually end up not only covered with the mulch, but also manage to sink into the soil and I have to try to scrape the dirt off the rhizome the next year... finally figured out that this is not necessarily because they are planted in a sandy soil, but because the area where the new rhizomes get planted really hasn't had time to settle)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 9:00AM
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