Irises forum→Trimming Bearded Iris Foliage in Spring.

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Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
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SonoveShakespeare
Feb 24, 2021 1:58 PM CST
I noticed today when I was getting the mail, that my irises along the driveway still have some green leaves left on them. Confused Now, we had terrible snow blizzards, and those irises were covered in 2' piles of snow from the scooped driveway. So I am sure those leaves would have turned brown.

Spring clean up for me is in a month, and I was wondering if those few green leaves would be okay to cut or leave alone.

Thanks
-Ian

PS some of the leaves look frostbite as well.
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Name: James
North Louisiana (Zone 8b)
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deepsouth
Feb 24, 2021 2:43 PM CST
irises - I would weed-eat, or prune everything to the ground ..... as the weather warms up, new growth will emerge








Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Feb 24, 2021 4:51 PM CST
That's true about the sibs (or maybe Japanese irises) that you have pictured, James, but I'd leave any green leaves alone, and remove just the dead or brown leaves in the spring from the bearded irises. It's OK to cut off any of the brown tips if you want though.
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
[Last edited by tveguy3 - Feb 24, 2021 4:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Katy
Clovis, New Mexico, USA (Zone 7a)
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KatyLLL
Feb 24, 2021 6:27 PM CST
I lived in Lincoln NE for 4 years. We just left the Iris alone. Those leaves that die and turn brown will just fall off on their own and provide mulch to protect the rhizome if need be. Lincoln seems ideal for iris. We did not even need to look at them and they grew great. Maybe clean the garden bed when it is warmer. As I recall it could stay icy till Easter some years.
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
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iciris
Feb 24, 2021 7:42 PM CST
I think it was four or five years ago, we hired a few guys to help pull the weeds. They did an okay job. The boss came back a few weeks later to finish up the job. Instead of pulling weeds, he used the weed eater (he was 'nice' enough to move all my plant labels first) and went down to the dirt weedeating. 98% of those bearded iris never recovered.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
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irisarian
Feb 24, 2021 8:59 PM CST
green leaves are fine.

wow irises should be taken care of by someone who knows what they're doing. I am glad that last year's person here weeds by hand, no chemicals.
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
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GreenIris
Feb 24, 2021 9:39 PM CST
I had brand new spring growth several weeks ago and then we had 2" of snow and several night below 20 degrees. And a few lookEd a little frost bit but everything continues to grow including those that were a little frostbite. So I agree with the "leave em" opinions.
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iciris
Feb 24, 2021 10:02 PM CST
irisarian said:green leaves are fine.

wow irises should be taken care of by someone who knows what they're doing. I am glad that last year's person here weeds by hand, no chemicals.


We only spoke to the "boss", told him we wanted the weeds hand pulled. He told us he knew all about irises. He had a landscape business, so we didn't question him. He didn't give us a day when his workers were going to be here. Our bad luck was we were out of town when the first crew was here. We were here when the boss was here but when we saw him he was in an area that wasn't in an area where the irises were.
He hasn't ever been on this property since.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Feb 25, 2021 4:13 AM CST
If you live in an area with iris borers, leaving the old leaves for compost is going to invite a lot of borers to hatch and thrive on your irises. I'm not sure if you have them in Nebraska, but we have them here.
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Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
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SonoveShakespeare
Feb 25, 2021 8:15 AM CST
Thanks everyone. I guess I was fine all along. I just wasn't sure because I haven't seen this much snow since I was a kid (wasn't sure if this amount of snow would cause issues with my bearded iris.)

I'll continue the regular spring cleanup and remove the usual dead iris leaves.

Barbara, I'm sorry you lost 98% of your iris due to a wedding business. I would sue them for what they did if that happened to me. As Lucy said, I'd rather have people weed by hand. I only used chemicals when I had poison ivy that made it's way from my neighbor Leila's yard into mine. Therefore, I covered my perennials (some of the ivy was in some of the same beds.)
Not only people give others signs, but plants do too.
[Last edited by SonoveShakespeare - Feb 25, 2021 8:20 AM (+)]
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Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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lauriemorningglory
Feb 25, 2021 3:37 PM CST
I'm chiming in a little late, Ian, but I just leave my irises alone at this time until things warm up and I start to see a little new growth. Then I'll clean up old, dead leaves and this will help get rid of borer eggs. I try not to wait too late since egg hatch occurs at about the time new leaves reach about 6 inches. I also try not to walk around on wet soil to avoid compaction.
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Try Naturalizing perennials! :)
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SonoveShakespeare
Feb 25, 2021 3:53 PM CST
lauriemorningglory said:I'm chiming in a little late, Ian, but I just leave my irises alone at this time until things warm up and I start to see a little new growth. Then I'll clean up old, dead leaves and this will help get rid of borer eggs. I try not to wait too late since egg hatch occurs at about the time new leaves reach about 6 inches. I also try not to walk around on wet soil to avoid compaction.


That's exactly what I do. I just wasn't sure what to do with the few green leaves because I haven't seen this much snow since I was a kid. (wasn't sure why there were still a few green leaves and what to do with them after all the snow I got.)



Not only people give others signs, but plants do too.
[Last edited by SonoveShakespeare - Feb 25, 2021 4:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Try Naturalizing perennials! :)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis Irises Daylilies Lilies Foliage Fan
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SonoveShakespeare
Feb 25, 2021 3:57 PM CST
deepsouth said:irises - I would weed-eat, or prune everything to the ground ..... as the weather warms up, new growth will emerge


Wouldn't that cause later blooms in the spring if you'd prune back the leaves?

...That's what I always thought.
Not only people give others signs, but plants do too.
[Last edited by SonoveShakespeare - Feb 25, 2021 3:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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lauriemorningglory
Feb 25, 2021 4:03 PM CST
I think most of what was still green going into winter will just die back as spring arrives, so if you weed-eat that old growth before new growth appears, you'd probably be ok.
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
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iciris
Feb 25, 2021 10:09 PM CST
SonoveShakespeare said:
Barbara, I'm sorry you lost 98% of your iris due to a wedding business. I would sue them for what they did if that happened to me. As Lucy said, I'd rather have people weed by hand. I only used chemicals when I had poison ivy that made it's way from my neighbor Leila's yard into mine. Therefore, I covered my perennials (some of the ivy was in some of the same beds.)


It was one bed, but it was 98% of that bed. I did not sue them. I shouldn't have paid them, but I did. Like I said they never worked here again.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
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AndreaD
Feb 25, 2021 11:12 PM CST
iciris said:I think it was four or five years ago, we hired a few guys to help pull the weeds. They did an okay job. The boss came back a few weeks later to finish up the job. Instead of pulling weeds, he used the weed eater (he was 'nice' enough to move all my plant labels first) and went down to the dirt weedeating. 98% of those bearded iris never recovered.


Yikes, that's a horror story. Crying
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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lauriemorningglory
Feb 25, 2021 11:27 PM CST
iciris said:I think it was four or five years ago, we hired a few guys to help pull the weeds. They did an okay job. The boss came back a few weeks later to finish up the job. Instead of pulling weeds, he used the weed eater (he was 'nice' enough to move all my plant labels first) and went down to the dirt weedeating. 98% of those bearded iris never recovered.


I think I remember you mentioning this story before. How awful. I'll bet he was weed-eating down to the ground to get those "thick roots" out. Glare
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
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iciris
Feb 26, 2021 12:17 PM CST
I think you're right. It was pretty bare ground when he was finished.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Feb 26, 2021 12:26 PM CST
I had my garden helpers cut them down to about 3 inches last fall. Many are showing green. I was obsessed with fall clean-up Shrug!
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Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
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janwax
Feb 26, 2021 1:08 PM CST
When you find a really good garden helper, who hand weeds, I've learned not to spread his virtues far and wide. Alex is busy, busy, busy, and not always available! We voluntarily pay him much more than the going rate ! He's worth it. Stops only for a drink of water and lunch. He's saving for college.
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