Irises forum: Disappointment continues - What could be wrong?

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Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 15, 2013 6:16 AM CST
Yesterday I noticed that another bearded iris is not looking too good. It was fine and started growing new leaves and then I saw this yesterday. Not in the same section the other two which I posted about died.

Thumb of 2013-04-15/JuliaNY/2b2f98


Any ideas? I did notice the rhizome appears to have split.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Apr 15, 2013 7:44 AM CST
I looked for your other post, but, being computer stupid, I couldn't find it! So ,was this a "first year" plant? I would guess that the split is the result of a well watered, large , rhisome, freezing. Just a guess. The "dead' tisssue seems to be in the center, or "growing point" of the fan, which is how they described "scorch" in posts last year. But I don't think thats an early season problem. So my best guess is that the plant was exposed to very cold temps after it had broken dormancy and started growth, damaging the " core' of the fan. If it was mine , I'd keep it as dry as possible( put a "tent" over it before rains, or even dig, and pot it, so you can control moisture) Good luck, and keep us posted....Arlyn
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 15, 2013 8:31 AM CST

Moderator

You might try touching the rhizome right at the base of the original fan. Based on its appearance, I'd expect you will find that it is soft and mushy. If so, scoop out all the mushy stuff with a spoon or something similar. Many people will then either sprinkle Comet or pour a 10:1 water:bleach solution on the remaining parts of the rhizome. I just leave the remaining parts exposed to the sun, but I live in a relatively dry part of the country.

You may find that the entire rhizome is mushy, in which case, it's too late. But, it doesn't hurt to try. If there are any good parts (they'll be hard enough that you can't cut through them with a spoon) left, you need to remove the rotten parts so the rhizome can heal.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Apr 15, 2013 8:48 AM CST
My thoughts are the same as Kent's. I had one that looked like this last fall. It started to put up several increase but the original fan never grew and was yellow. When I took hold of that fan it came off and there was a little rot in side. I scooped it out as Kent suggested. The increase are growing this spring. Radical surgery may save the increase on yours if this is the problem. Let us know.how things turn out.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 15, 2013 10:04 AM CST
I took it out and the rhizome is very soft. When I gently squeezed it, a whitish substance appeared Confused could tug on the one fan and it came off but the fan tissue connecting it to the rhizome was mushy. I tossed it. The ground in that area is not soaked or has standing water and I'm not seeing a similar issue with others in that grouping so far. This was Lest We Forget.

The other issues I had was with Magic Happens and Kitty Kay. Both of them were planted in a different area and also died off.

Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
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Paul2032
Apr 15, 2013 10:22 AM CST
The problems may not be related. Occasionally something fails to prosper. Unless something is happening to several adjacent plants I would try to not be to concerned. Were they newly planted rhizomes from the same source?
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 15, 2013 1:09 PM CST
Paul2032 said: Were they newly planted rhizomes from the same source?


I planted the rhizomes last year end of July. Magic Happens and Kitty Kay from one seller and Lest We Forget from another seller. I've gotten more from each of those sellers at that time and so far, they seem okay.

Just a bit disappointing when trying to create a variety of color and this happens. I'll have to wait till July/August to replace with perhaps different ones but with the same color/characteristics.

Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 15, 2013 1:28 PM CST

Moderator

Some iris simply don't grow well in certain regions. However, many times, stuff like this is just random bad luck. I bought Jordan's Joy from Schreiner's a few years ago. It looked great in the fall, but in the spring it looked much like your picture. If I had realized what was happening sooner it might have been saved, but I didn't. I replaced it with a new rhizome of Jordan's Joy the following summer and it's grown like a weed ever since with no problems what so ever. Just one of those things Shrug!

Don't know about the other two, but Kitty Kay has a bit of a reputation for being particular about its growing conditions.
Name: Brad
iowa (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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ARUBA1334
Apr 16, 2013 7:08 PM CST
Julia I am curious if you cover the bulbs with anything over winter ? I have found that in my climate the plants do a lot better with some sort of winter protection from the freeze thaw cycles we go through here. I used to mulch all of mine and then remove it in the spring before they started growing but as my beds grew that became not practical anymore so the past few years,I have used a light covering of compost over everything and then I use my leaf blower to remove it in the spring when its time to fertilize this method has worked great for me, the compost is great for the plants and I don't have to worry about raking it. I too have struggled with Kitty Kay either it does not grow well or it has rotted not sure why I am struggling with that one,I saw thousands of bulbs of it in bloom and doing well in Oregon but like Kent said maybe it is just my region Shrug! . Bacterial soft rot has a real distinctive smell to it when you have it you will know it right away because it stinks, keep a eye on everything in that area i have had it spread quickly you may want to treat for it. I have noticed a few of mine have had a weird look to them as well when I touch the bulb it has a sponge feel to it and completely pulls out of the ground the look is similar to soft rot but different it may very well be some plants that were left over with scorch from last year not quite sure what it is yet as I have not ever seen anything like it it but with all the non stop rain we have having I am certainly keeping a eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Apr 16, 2013 7:18 PM CST
Note: Kitty Kay is a problem for people here as well. If the ground freezes & stays that way, you are usually ok. It's the alternate freezing & thawing which causes problems.
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 17, 2013 6:12 AM CST
No mulch. I use to do that but read it could hurt the rhizomes and now I wish I had done it. I have put down alfalfa pellets but haven't worked it into the soil. I typically just let it breakdown on its own. Our temps here have hopefully stabilized a bit but then you never know what will happen. I do have 2 other pinkish colored ones I bought last year so hopefully nothing happens to them. I feel like the mother hen as I keep checking the gardens to see if any others are starting to look sick.

I won't get another Kitty Kay since reading your posts on it. I have a wish list started for this year and I'll just keep my eye out for posts regarding
any of these or will post my list to get some input before I purchase. I also plan to visit a local grower and see what they have but I'm not sure I want to dig my own out at their place.

Thanks for all your help everyone. I'm just a bit bummed when spending time, money and effort and then this happens. Such is life, right?



Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
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Paul2032
Apr 17, 2013 7:05 AM CST
Kitty Kay is just a moderate grower for me, small increase and occasionally misses blooming a year but it is so pretty when it does that I will continue to baby it. I have three pinks that I planted last year that I hope to see bloom this year, Keppel's Pretty Kitty and Strawberry Shake and Tom Johnson's Flamingo Frenzy. My two best pinks for vigor of growth are Ghio's Star Appeal and Hollywood Star. They are also the pinkest. I highly recommend them.
Thumb of 2013-04-17/Paul2032/cea69f Kitty Kay
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 17, 2013 8:01 AM CST
Paul2032 said:Kitty Kay is just a moderate grower for me, small increase and occasionally misses blooming a year but it is so pretty when it does that I will continue to baby it. I have three pinks that I planted last year that I hope to see bloom this year, Keppel's Pretty Kitty and Strawberry Shake and Tom Johnson's Flamingo Frenzy. My two best pinks for vigor of growth are Ghio's Star Appeal and Hollywood Star. They are also the pinkest. I highly recommend them.
Thumb of 2013-04-17/Paul2032/cea69f Kitty Kay


It may well have been a picture you posted that drew me to order it and yes, it is lovely.
Thanks for the recommendations.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Dora
Calgary (Zone 3a)
Lilies Clematis Bulbs Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian
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dorab
Apr 17, 2013 8:53 AM CST
Did you use manure around your iris plants? Don't.
Dora
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Apr 17, 2013 10:59 AM CST
We use pine needles for a winter mulch. they are very light & don't smother rhizomes.
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 17, 2013 2:23 PM CST
No manure is used.

Where do you find the pine needle mulch? I've not seen that at the big box stores. Just the regular mulch.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
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Paul2032
Apr 17, 2013 2:35 PM CST
Pine needles from long needled pines. I have them in my yard. You may be able to rake some up in a park, public building , or in a neighbors yard if you don't have any. It is often called pine straw.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Apr 17, 2013 2:57 PM CST
Most nurseries and garden centers have it, listed as pine straw...Arlyn...PS..Pauls right ,you should be able to find it for "free", if you ask around!
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Apr 17, 2013 5:21 PM CST
Do you just do this in the fall and rake it out in the spring or keep it on them all year round?
Sorry, for the dumb question but I haven't used pine straw/needle.

Thanks
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Apr 17, 2013 7:12 PM CST
I'd put it on late fall, and remove in the early spring. The idea is to keep the plants consistantly COLD all winter, with no freeze/thaw cycles( at least thats my idea of it)...Arlyn I tip my hat to you.

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