Irises forum: Vanishing rhizomes....is it the "Garden Gnomes"??

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Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jul 24, 2014 12:57 PM CST
I went through my iris beds and what do I see? Missing rhizomes! Blinking The name tags were there, but no sign of a rhizome. So where did they go? Confused There isn't a gopher hole, or any other critter hole, anywhere in sight.

Gone without a trace are.... Sad
Nessun Dorma
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Not only have I had to deal with the deer, rabbits, squirrels, slugs, snails, earwigs and mystery deaths in winter,...but now I have vanishing irises. Ugh!.... Grumbling
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
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DaveinPA
Jul 24, 2014 1:11 PM CST
I had several hit by the iris gnomes last winter. I think it was little furry critters wanting a quick salad of tough leaves that ended up pulling up the whole plant. Only happened to those that were new. Some were found out in the lawn area many feet from the original location and rather chewed up.
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jul 24, 2014 1:18 PM CST
Hmmm! Cats and squirrels (the "tree rat" kind !) will dig them up....but there they lay ! Deer supposedly won't eat iris ....but I have heard reports of them up rooting new plants, but I would think they would be laying close by. Rabbits might chew the leaves, but the "bare "rhizome would still be there. Slugs, snails, and earwigs aren't big enough to carry them off, even if they worked together (and I think they belong to different unions, so it's pretty unlikely)....that leaves dogs...using them for chew toys...kids...being kids....or, senior moments on your part...did you REALLY plant them? or just think you did?....Garden Gnomes ( we have Garden Gremlins, here) would be the only logical thing left !.................Arlyn
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 24, 2014 1:33 PM CST
Are there signs of digging around the missing rhizomes? Surely something/someone strong enough to pull up an iris rhizome would have left a paw, (or foot ??) print in disturbed soil.

That's a lot of plants gone! As Dave suggests above, if a critter dug them up to eat the leaves, you'll find at least some of the rhizomes laying around - do a search pattern in circles out from where they were.

If you don't find any errant rhizomes, I'd set up a video camera and record for a night or two, to see what's happening. Guess I'm just a suspicious sort, but I'd suspect human 'gnomes' if you don't find any trace of the plants. Got a neighbor with a 'collector' type of garden? Irises are expensive, worth stealing if you're a monetarily challenged plant addict.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jul 24, 2014 1:48 PM CST
The deer, rabbits, earwigs, slugs/snails attacked my irises in Winter/ early Spring. There was nothing "green" for them to eat, because the hills were still dry and brown. So they helped themselves to the new iris growth. The squirrels keep digging them up, but yes they just leave the rhizome(s) there. I also have a flock of wild turkey digging up my irises and laying in the beds! Grumbling They do help keep the earwigs in check, I just wish they didn't dig up the irises, then lay on them.
No senior moment here, I did plant them in late May, early June. Plus, I'm not a senior...yet. Sticking tongue out The wire loop I use to hold them in place until they grow some roots is still there, pulled up out of the ground, but still there. I don't have a dog anymore... no children around. I'm next to open space and I get a constant visit of wild critters.



Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jul 24, 2014 2:09 PM CST
Could it be that deer are very hungry given the dry conditions of your area, and are eating what ever they can find? But you'd see foot prints most likely unless the ground is hard and dry. I think you need a trail cam setup! Maybe it's a Jackalope! Rolling on the floor laughing Of course it could have been a Junior moment too! Or a Wine moment!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
[Last edited by tveguy3 - Jul 24, 2014 2:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
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grannysgarden
Jul 24, 2014 2:35 PM CST
well, I am missing Midnight Oil and its nametag. Just gone. There are 43 named irises in that bed and a row of NoID's along the east fence. This bed is to the back of the property and I have no neighbors that can see that bed. No other irises are disturbed. All other plant markers are there. I planted that rhizome early this summer as it was a gift from an ATP iris grower. I really wanted that iris. On one side is Dance Gypsy and on the other Baboon Bottom..... both there and both galvanized/aluminum markers are there. No footy prints of anything, no digging signs..... Why would something go into the middle of an iris bed, choose one iris and take it and its nametag? I know that iris did not go back to OK of its own accord!
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Pam
Pennsylvania
Irises Keeps Horses Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: Pennsylvania
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Snork
Jul 24, 2014 2:57 PM CST
Deer will pull them out and carry them away from the garden before spitting them back out . Check around the rest of your property , especially any well used trails. You might get lucky and find some of them.....Course then you will have to guess as to identity.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jul 24, 2014 3:29 PM CST
How close together were they planted? Same bed? Different beds?

Jackalopes are that far West? Whodathunkit. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Linnea
Southern Maine, border 5b/6a (Zone 5b)
Irises Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Composter Organic Gardener
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Linneaj
Jul 24, 2014 5:15 PM CST
There is a fair amount of foot traffic going by my front garden. I am one house in from Main Street of a small city. I moved my named irises. Doh. I will put the ditch lilies there.
Don't make fear based decisions.
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
Jul 24, 2014 8:13 PM CST

Moderator

Pam's right. Deer will pull up recently planted irises, carry them off, and then drop them when they discover that iris leaves don't taste very good.

Don't ask me how I know this, but if you chew an iris leaf you'll get an unpleasant tingling sensation in your mouth. The tingling doesn't start until several minutes after the chewing has begun. I've often wondered if deer experience the same thing.

Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jul 24, 2014 8:28 PM CST
Okay, won't ask, then, Big Grin but it is good information to have. One of the reasons no Iris have gone into the back yard is that I understand dogs and Iris don't mix well. Wonder if dogs also get that same effect.

Kent, what is the gorgeous Iris in your avatar?
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
[Last edited by lovemyhouse - Jul 25, 2014 5:22 AM (+)]
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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
Jul 24, 2014 9:22 PM CST

Moderator

It's a seedling of mine.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
Jul 25, 2014 12:53 AM CST
It's a beauty Kent.
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.

Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jul 25, 2014 1:31 AM CST
There were no foot, paw, or hoof prints. The ground is dry and hard, so even I don't make a dent in it. I looked around the area and walked around in my field to look for any dropped rhizomes...I didn't find any, but I'll look some more tomorrow.

Deb, they were all in the same iris bed that was planted in late May, early June. They're planted about 18" +/- apart.

Kent, I have to ask...how do you know that? Blinking

Bonnie, Dave and I need a garden gnome trap. Odd that your name tag went missing too Bonnie. Confused

No Tom, I don't think it was a jackalope. Green Grin! The wine is for enjoying after the hard work. Sticking tongue out

There is an infestation of ground squirrels on land next to me. They stripped my fruit trees nearest the barn in a day. The fruit wasn't even ripe yet... I'll hop the barbed wire tomorrow and see what I can find near their burrows.
[Last edited by UndertheSun - Jul 25, 2014 3:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Greg Hodgkinson
Hanover PA (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Irises I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Region: Japan Garden Photography
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Misawa77
Jul 25, 2014 5:06 AM CST
alas, they probably just rotted and wasted away in place while their neighbors flourished. I have a few like this each year. Dig the spot carefully and you will probably find roots that have yet to waste away.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jul 25, 2014 5:27 AM CST
Kent, if you ever decide to have it introduced, please let us know, I'd bring it home in a heartbeat. Like it nearly as much as I do that dusky one from the seedlings thread Lovey dubby
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Linnea
Southern Maine, border 5b/6a (Zone 5b)
Irises Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Composter Organic Gardener
Garden Art Daylilies
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Linneaj
Jul 25, 2014 6:22 AM CST
Hava-A-Heart traps with appropriate food will catch small critters.

Iris are toxic. Smart animals will spit them out. Maybe they will kill all the stupid thieves.
Don't make fear based decisions.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jul 25, 2014 7:21 AM CST
It sure didn't kill the rabbits that ate them this last winter!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
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
Jul 25, 2014 7:56 AM CST

Moderator

Toxic is a bit of an overstatement. Irises, like almost all plants, produce a variety of chemicals intended to deter animals from eating them. But, a person would have to eat a lot of iris leaves to do any real harm (assuming it didn't inspire some sort of anaphylaxis). I suspect animals like deer, rabbits, etc. can handle those chemicals pretty well. Most of the time, there are other plants around they'd rather eat. But, it's also pretty clear that, at certain times of the year, iris leaves are their best option.

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