Friday, May 21, 2010

Can I cut down my iris leaves?

I really want to transplant today. My irises are getting awfully crowded!





I know the best time to transplant is early fall, but here there's two temperatures: Cool and OH MY GOD IT'S HOT! So I figured we could do it now.





They're very, very thick (probably about 200 plants in a 3 X 2 foot area), and last time we tried transplanting we ended up giving up because of the leaves. Can we cut them off to about 1 foot long to make it easier to transplant them?





Also, any other transplant tips?





Thanks!

Can I cut down my iris leaves?
Definitely cut them back to about 6" then transplant them. Typically they need to be transplanted when they get overcrowded. Overcrowded plants will stop blooming or the blooms will get really small or your leaves will get a blight.As you pull them from the ground check them for Iris Borers. If you have the borers in any of the tubers, cut that part of the tuber away and wash them in insecticidal soap. Or if they're badly infested, just through that tuber away. You'll have plenty. Plant them very shallow so they are barely covered with dirt. And place them in the ground so that their fans form a circle.


Don't over crowd them. Iris multiply fairly quickly and you don't want to have to transplant again in 2 years. They won't bloom the first season you transplant, but they'll start slowly next year.





You don't say where you're located, but if you transplant after they've bloomed, you need to wait for them to regain their strength before you move them. Let the photosynthesis work for a few months before you do the transplant.





I wouldn't just take a few from the center of the bed or the outer edge of the bed. I'd lift the whole bed. Better to do it sooner than later.
Reply:Its really best to transplant in the fall.If they havent started this years growth you can cut all of the leaves off.You can still separate now they just wont be as hearty this year.
Reply:Yes - they won't bloom this year, but that is what I do with the leaves.
Reply:.really best to wait until leave have died back naturally, as the leaves help to feed the plant for next seasons flowers





if you really have to just remove as few leaves as possible, but before you do this give plant a really good watering, including the holes of there new homes, best done when sun is going down. good luck
Reply:You can transplant now, but will lose this years blooms. The outer plants will bloom this year. The inner ones will not bloom until they are transplanted, but still not until next year. So move the inner ones first.


Or maybe you can just dig some of the inner ones out and give them to a neighbor.





Better yet, dig the whole bed out and put them where you want them. Since you will not get blooms this year anyway, go ahead and cut them back.
Reply:You might loose this years bloom but you can transplant them. With the iris as tight as you say you might not be getting much of a bloom anyhow so I'd do it with the idea of next year having a good show. The best time of the year is from July to September but they can be divided and moved at any time of the growing season.





I'd lift the entire area, work the rhizomes apart, and trim the leaves down into a fan shape leaving 6" or so of leaf to each fan. Any dried up, soft, or otherwise damaged rhizomes cut off and get rid of. Replant the rhizomes so that the top of each is above the soil.


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