Irises forum: to late to burn?

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Name: BrendaVR
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Region: Canadian
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BrendaVR
Apr 12, 2015 3:15 PM CST
My iris' have just started to show some more green but I haven't gotten to cleaning up the garden yet. Is it to late to burn once they show new growth?
I can't burn the whole bed but was going to use the garden torch to burn the old leaves (while carefully avoiding the tubers!) is cutting and removing just as effective?
I'm worried because one of my iris' had a grub eating the root last year. No visible damage to the leaves just was not growing well so I dug and found half the tuber gone. Ugh!
If we had no holes in our leaves we would have no butterflies!
Name: Marilyn
Central California (Zone 9b)
Region: California Bee Lover Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers Composter
Annuals Dog Lover Cat Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moiris
Apr 12, 2015 6:24 PM CST
I have never tried burning...but I would not do it once the new leaves have started to show. I would just give them all a good trimming.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Apr 12, 2015 7:51 PM CST
Yah -- have to agree with Marilyn.
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Apr 12, 2015 9:32 PM CST
The grub is iris borer?
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
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DaveinPA
Apr 13, 2015 5:56 AM CST
Have to agree, don't burn now. Arlyn does burning, but in the fall, so maybe he is the expert. That 'grub' is most likely an iris borer so do watch for more while doing the trimming and cleaning by hand, although it is early for them.
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
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 13, 2015 6:51 AM CST

Moderator

As long as there's only an inch or two of new growth, it shouldn't be a problem to burn them. Mine always have about an inch or so of new growth when I burn them. It singes the tips of the leaves, but doesn't seem to hurt the plant at all.
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 13, 2015 6:57 AM CST

Moderator

I always intend to take pictures of the process, but then forget. I did take one quick picture right after burning one bed. It's not the best, but you can see they were showing some green.When I get back home this evening, I'll show you what that bed looks like now.

Thumb of 2015-04-13/KentPfeiffer/8b08e0

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
Apr 13, 2015 8:20 AM CST
I have always done this with my Siberian irises but never with the TBs. Never hurt them at all!
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Apr 13, 2015 10:15 AM CST
This is the first I've heard of burning. We would so get ticketed for burning anything. Hilarious!
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
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 13, 2015 5:02 PM CST

Moderator

The same spot today.

Thumb of 2015-04-13/KentPfeiffer/4e998a

If you look closely, you might see some leaf tips that were singed off. Otherwise, they are unharmed.

Name: Marilyn
Central California (Zone 9b)
Region: California Bee Lover Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers Composter
Annuals Dog Lover Cat Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moiris
Apr 13, 2015 5:06 PM CST
Wow Kent...I would have thought that flaming the tips would really set back the new growth! Those plants look great! Thumbs up

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theirisman
Apr 13, 2015 8:52 PM CST
Thumb of 2015-04-14/theirisman/adaaed

I got tired of dragging around a 20 lb propane tank so I bought a back pack and inserted the tank in the pack. I have two acres to clean so this is not fro your small gardener. I try to clean in Jan or Feb when there is no new growth. Been doing this since 1995. It use to take me at least two weeks to clean by hand but now I am done in 3 days.
Name: Marilyn
Central California (Zone 9b)
Region: California Bee Lover Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers Composter
Annuals Dog Lover Cat Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moiris
Apr 13, 2015 9:14 PM CST
So you do this instead of cleaning up the dead leaves in order to control pests and disease? Other than being easier on a large scale are there any benefits over hand cleaning?
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Apr 14, 2015 7:15 AM CST
Well, I *think* it's a better method because more disease organisms are destroyed , in place, rather than "shaken off" the leaves, as you pull them. (that would apply to bacteria, fungi, and insect eggs). Also, some weed seeds are destroyed, as well. I had always scattered fallen tree leaves, or straw, on the beds, and then burnt them, but, this year, I used a "torch"......I'm still "modifying" my system, though. I cut the plants back to 6", or so, rake out the leaf "tops', and then, in a few days, burn the beds. This is done in the late fall.....but, I see some "problems" with my system, so I think this next year I will wait to do the burn until we get home (usually mid-March). That's later than I'd like, but I don't think it's "too" late. I wouldn't even cut them back in the late fall if blown in tree leaves and trash were not such an issue here....between the blown in stuff, and the iris leaves themselves, that's a LOT of "mulch effect", and also a LOT of 'fuel" when it's time to burn.
One downside to my "fall" burning is the 6" leaf "stubs" are still green at the time I burn...so they don't burn off, just "singe", and just stay there, over winter, holding trash, and become VERY hard to deal with when the new growth starts....so a 'late winter", or "early spring" burn would eliminate that.
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 14, 2015 8:13 AM CST

Moderator

Moiris said:So you do this instead of cleaning up the dead leaves in order to control pests and disease? Other than being easier on a large scale are there any benefits over hand cleaning?


I think burning actually does far less damage to the plants than hand cleaning does. Most herbaceous plants are largely unaffected by fire (many actually grow better after being burned), provided it doesn't occur in the main part of the growing season.

Most of my neighbors have pin oak trees, so my iris beds accumulate tremendous amounts of leaves over the winter. There are really only two options to get rid of them, either set them on fire or drag out the big leaf blower. Burning is much quicker and more effective, and I do think there are some additional benefits as well. A few of my neighbors are alarmed by the sight of me setting the yard on fire Whistling , though, so I tend to only do it with the smaller beds. That way, by the time anyone realizes what I'm doing, it's already over.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Apr 14, 2015 8:36 AM CST
From now on we'll call you *Cool Hand Kent*!!!!! Thumbs up
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Marilyn
Central California (Zone 9b)
Region: California Bee Lover Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers Composter
Annuals Dog Lover Cat Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moiris
Apr 14, 2015 7:25 PM CST
Great information...thanks for sharing! I'll have to give it some thought...not sure I need to go that route...but I can see how great a solution it is in some situations!
Name: BrendaVR
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Region: Canadian
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BrendaVR
Apr 17, 2015 6:15 PM CST
Thanks all! Yes very good info!

(and I do have one of the propane backpacks for work, only its a 10 not a 20! ...useful even in nature; invasive species. I have a smaller 'garden variate' one for my home yard that just uses a camp stove propane tank) Being in the city I will not be lighting the beds on fire, just using the hand held torch to burn off the top layer of stuff.

I fear the grub was the iris borer (likely is)...but am not totally sure. (I took some photos...will have to try to find them) but it was (so far!) confined to one iris.

Thanks for the photos Kent! I think based on that I may just be ok if I get to it this weekend. They have a few inches up this week...its been nice and warm (and last weekend would have been perfect, but alas, live and learn...and I also ran out of time.)
If we had no holes in our leaves we would have no butterflies!
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Apr 17, 2015 6:40 PM CST
Time seems to be a "short commodity " for ALL gardeners in the Spring Sticking tongue out !
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Apr 17, 2015 7:08 PM CST
Indeed -- time is a problem.

Brenda -- we don't need pictures of Iris borers -- really we don't. Rolling my eyes. You only have to know that Iris borers are pink -- sickening creatures, to be sure......
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])

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