Iris rhizomes at ground level & trimming leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Staten Island, Ne
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Question by mlyledavis
September 1, 2010
1-Re dividing iris and planting just below the surface of the soil. I have some clumps that seem to want to be at ground level? When I divide and transplant them, what should I do with those? Below the soil, or at ground level?

2-I remember reading years ago to trim the leaves to approx 6

Answer from NGA
September 1, 2010
I dig and divide my iris in August and I do cut the foliage down to about six inches before digging and dividing the rhizomes. It makes handling the plants so much easier. Leaving a few inches attached allows the remaining parts of the leaves to carry on with their photosynthesis and it provides me with a handy handle. Iris rhizomes should be planted about an inch or two below soil level. They do tend to push themselves up as the roots grow down into the soil. This generally does not hurt the rhizomes so don't be too concerned if yours are pushing themselves up. After you've removed the rhizomes, take the opportunity to dig some compost or other organic matter into the bed before replanting your iris. The roots of the plants will thank you and respond by producing larger flowers next year. I generally amend the soil, level it, then dig shallow trenches where I intend to plant the rhizomes. You can lay the rhizome divisions in the trench, spaced 4-6" apart, then cover over the trench with a couple of inches of soil. Water well to help settle the soil and your irises will be happy campers. Best wishes with your project.

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