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So rainy - my irises are rotting!

Posted by northspruce z3a MB CDA (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 8, 10 at 13:53

Argh! It's rained and rained for the past month. A few of my new irises put out some leaves this spring but then disappeared. When I noticed one I've had for a few years had no leaves, I did some digging to see what's going on. I have never even looked for soft rot before, since my soil is well drained.

I dug up Classic Suede, the one that appeared to have a firm rhizome but no leaves. It was rotting underneath but there was still plenty of firm rhizome left and a few healthy roots. Spanish Angel had one tiny fan of leaves and when I dug it up I found it has only a scrap of rhizome and one healthy root.

I soaked them in dilute Pine Sol (hopefully this works; I don't keep bleach or chemicals in the house), then laid them out to dry. I can't sun them or plant them outside as it's still raining, so I have them under a light in the basement. I'm thinking of potting them up for the rest of the summer. Any thoughts? And should I trim the leaves on Spanish Angel, since it has almost no root structure? And will Classic Suede grow leaves?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

two of mine have done similar. Best Bet had one part of good tuber and a nice fan, I cut the bad part off, let it bake in the sun for a day or two and replanted in a sunnier spot. One of the ones I got from Chapman's last year has rotted in the middle but has firm but tiny tubers supporting leaves. Luckily each came off with a good root and I have planted them in a pot under the eves hoping they will make it. Not even sure what they are since I didn't mark them. Should I dig up all my faves and keep them in pots that dry out between rains?

The weather is so bad for plants lately, the winter with no snow and -40 for a month killed my favorite roses and now the never ending rains are going to kill the irises.


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

Can you believe my irises have over 50 blooms this year? And there's more coming.

That's over twice the blooms I usually get.

My 4 overcrowded clumps (they're so crowded I'll call it 4) have been in crappy soil, never divided, barely watered, for 5 years and now I have a ton of blooms.

Go figure.


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

Well the rotters are still lying under lights in the basement looking sad. There hasn't been any sun yet to put them out in. I'm only having problems with my tall beardeds. The SDBs were great this spring.


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 9, 10 at 22:47

I don't know how strong of a bleach solution you're supposed to use, but maybe vinegar would work better than Pine-Sol? I don't know if Pine-Sol is acidic like bleach, but vinegar is. Just for future reference, unless they are still getting worse.


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

I thought it was the disinfecting property I was looking for. Vinegar is a good disinfectant too though, good point. I use it on my counters. I did some more reading and Comet dust is highly recommended for coating the rhizome, even for sprinkling on the soil after re-planting.


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 12, 10 at 13:26

Yup, good point. And I'll have to keep that comet thing in mind. I never would have thought of that!


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

Comet does work. Just take a spoon and scoop out the soft rotten stuff and sprinkle on the comet.


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

Yes, I've visited a huge iris grower out by Winnipeg, and she uses Comet to sprinkle on her irises and swears by it. Have you been able to plant them out yet? Good luck with them!


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RE: So rainy - my irises are rotting!

  • Posted by marric Z5a Ontario (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 29, 10 at 8:04

I have the same problem so I posted on the iris forum. Here's the answer I got: 'Scoop out all soft tissue and remove soil to let rhizomes dry out. Sprinkle damaged area's with 'comet' or other Cl based dry powder kitchen cleanser.'
I read this in the Gardener's Iris Handbook.
'Comet or any household cleanser that contains chlorine based bleach acts in 3 ways, it helps dry the wound, its fatal to bacteria and produces an strong alkaline environment that any surviving bacteria can't grow in. Also it is best to dip you pruners in a strong bleach solution between cuts. One part bleach to 5 parts water.'

We have had non stop rain here for a few weeks. Looks like today will be nice tho, the suns out. Maybe I can go dig up some and see how bad they are. Marg


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