Mulching Iris?

kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)August 16, 2008

Hi all! I live in NE Ohio zone 5b. I am new to irises. I just planted 8 mini tall bearded irises in my raised bed. The bed is well drained (about a foot high), good loamy soil.

My question is... Since I live in an area that gets very cold down to about 20's, 10's and maybe even sometimes singe digits, and plenty of snowfall, do I mulch the irises? I don't want them to be subjected to heaving of the ground in the late fall, winter, or early spring. I have heard that mulching iris is bad. Do I just leave the "necks" or rhizomes sticking out of the ground all winter?

Thanks from

one who needs an "Irises for Dummies" book lol

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

No mulch! Since you have planted them this early, they should root in well before winter sets in. Irises that heave with the freeze and thaws are usually ones that have not gotten planted soon enough to get established.

I too am in 5b and use no mulch and they survive just fine. In fact, one season when I was a very bad iris mommy, I didn't get some rhizomes planted, and they survived the winter in a box on the carport. I then planted them the next spring and they were fine, though it took additional time for them to get established and bloom. I would not suggest overwintering them as I did.

Sue

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 12:34PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Thankyou! I thought as much. I didn't mulch them. I do have other plants (perennials such as hosta and coral bells) planted next to them, but I will keep the mulch off of them as best I can.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 9:58PM
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carlos42180(Z5 Chicago)

Hi Kenstar,

Personally, I do use mulch, but I keep the mulch about two inches way from the rhizomes. I mainly use the mulch to help control the weeding and my Irises do well with. Just don't put any OVER the rhizome.

Now that I mention it, the Irises in my front yard, which have mulch around them, look a LOT better (nice, fresh green leaves), than the Irises in backyard, which have no mulch (leaves are green, but with brown, shriveled tips). I wonder...

Carlos

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 4:22PM
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mikesc

The College where I work mulches everything to control weeding. The irises here are the healthiest looking plants I've ever seen. The mulch is a hardwood mulch that drains/dries out quickly. Their plants are much better looking than most of mine which are not covered with mulch.

I'm just adding this b/c it goes against all the rules, but something about these irises makes them respond super well to this method.

Mike in SC

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 4:39PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Thanks all.
Another question is, where I bought them (BJ Irises)they said to cover the rhizomes with 1 inch of soil over the winter to prevent heaving. I am loath to put anything over the rhizomes. But I do live in NE Ohio and the winters can be quite cold and sometimes VERY snowy. Think I should cover them with the 1 inch of soil now or wait until later on in the fall, or not at all?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Another question is, where I bought them (BJ Irises)they said to cover the rhizomes with 1 inch of soil over the winter to prevent heaving.

I am also in 5b, though some south of you. Regarding heaving...I have never had any heave out of the ground unless they were planted quite late, and had not had ample time to get their roots established. I have read that if they do happen to heave, one could/should then cover them with some soil. That is assuming one happened to have some soil on hand that was not frozen, or a muddy mess as it is usually one or the other here during the winter.

just an FYI...if you put your location in the one zone box provided for the zone, it will show on your member page and will also automatically be shown when you post. See I am zone 5/6 S IN

Sue

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 4:43PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

OK thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 8:41PM
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hosta_miser(z6b PA)

"Personally, I do use mulch, but I keep the mulch about two inches way from the rhizomes. I mainly use the mulch to help control the weeding and my Irises do well with. Just don't put any OVER the rhizome."

Hey Carlos, we agree on this one. I was told not to use mulch, but I had so many weeds when I lived in NY that I started using it like you do.

"The College where I work mulches everything to control weeding. The irises here are the healthiest looking plants I've ever seen. The mulch is a hardwood mulch that drains/dries out quickly."

Over time, the mulch will compost and add nutrients to the soil, so it's not surprising that mulched irises will look better, so long as they don't stay too wet and rot.

Joel

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 9:28AM
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chere(7)

One year I dug up some Iris and laid down some alfalfa as mulch and then laid the iris out on top of it and I got six to five flowers per stock. The only problem was I had to stake them to keep them from falling over.

Chere

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:19PM
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