Irises forum→I'm losing to the weeds!

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Name: Julie Seward
Westerville, OH (Zone 6b)
julieseward1
May 8, 2021 3:33 PM CST
I put in an iris bed last year. Everyone says not to mulch around Iris. But after a rainy week the weeds are as big as the plants and it's hard to get in to weed without injuring the iris. Plus it is killing my back. Any suggestions on how to win the weed war?
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 8, 2021 4:24 PM CST
I mulch with pine bark. I just pull the mulch at least an inch away from the rhizomes. I need to mulch again.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Polymerous
May 9, 2021 12:07 AM CST
I mulch with small redwood bark, but the small Shrug! weeds are ubiquitous here. I'm resigned to always having a weedy garden, because I won't use herbicides, including pre-emergents, and I also just can't keep up with them.
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
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evelyninthegarden
May 9, 2021 1:50 PM CST
Me too!
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: United States of America Irises Region: Southwest Gardening Dog Lover
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GreenIris
May 9, 2021 4:04 PM CST
I don't use herbicides either! It takes me until August to get all the weeds out! Sometimes they are way to prevalent in my photos for my liking but it is what it is!!!
I have won some battles though and extinct certain weeds from my yard so my hope is one year I will have it under control to the point It will take very little maintenance.
The best advice I ever had came off this forum and sadly I can't remember who gave it. But they said get the weeds by the time they flower, to keep them from going to seed, or something like that. Since I started following that advice I have had much higher success. I also, each year pick one or two weeds i call Public Enemy #1 and I focus on wiping them out! I have had a lot of success this way! But I am fighting a clover war right now. I love clover but not in my Iris gardens, so I am trying to ban it from my yard. I should had a very flat tummy by the end of that battle Hilarious!
I think the people who grow Irises are about as special as the flower itself!
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
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evelyninthegarden
May 9, 2021 5:39 PM CST
I have a lot of clover, too and grass weeds... I work at it every day. It is slow going. I didn't weed last year, so now I am paying the price!
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
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
May 9, 2021 7:36 PM CST
We u se Grass B Gon as it doesn't hurt iris, but that is it! Sorry, computer, but that is the way it is spelled.
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
May 9, 2021 9:08 PM CST
Lucy ~ Haha...you have to train your computer. Easier than training a cat! nodding
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 9, 2021 9:24 PM CST
I gave up on training mine and turned off the spell-check. Now I just have to deal with slight slippage of the touch screen so that unless I touch the left side of a key, the key to the right of that one registers. What a pain. I now have a new device on order.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Polymerous
May 9, 2021 9:33 PM CST
This year the scarlet pimpernel (at least, I think that's what it is) has gone crazy... It's by no means my only weed, but it does seem to have increased in numbers from previous years. It's a charming little weed and I almost hate to pull it out, but... it IS a weed.



(Random comment here... In my junior year of high school my English teacher kicked me out of his class and sent me to another (better) teacher for independent study, which I did the rest of that year. That gave me carte blanche to pretty much read whatever I wanted, and one of the things that I read was 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', which was a pretty good romance/action/thriller novel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... Arguably certain modern superhero conventions such as having a secret identity derived from this character.)
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
[Last edited by Polymerous - May 9, 2021 9:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 9, 2021 9:37 PM CST
Marilyn, I read and enjoyed that one, too. But I have to say that your scarlet pimpernel should be called the orange pimpernel!
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Keeps Goats Composter Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Cat Lover Butterflies
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urania1
May 9, 2021 9:46 PM CST
Polymerous said:(Random comment here... In my junior year of high school my English teacher kicked me out of his class and sent me to another (better) teacher for independent study, which I did the rest of that year. That gave me carte blanche to pretty much read whatever I wanted, and one of the things that I read was 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', which was a pretty good romance/action/thriller novel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... Arguably certain modern superhero conventions such as having a secret identity derived from this character.)


Loved that book when I was in middle school.
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
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lauriemorningglory
May 9, 2021 9:47 PM CST
Hilarious! I enjoyed the story, too. Didn't know it was a weed!
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
May 10, 2021 8:00 PM CST
Still like it & have a copy somewhere.
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Polymerous
May 10, 2021 10:22 PM CST
lauriemorningglory said: Hilarious! I enjoyed the story, too. Didn't know it was a weed!


* cough * "common wayside flower" * cough *
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
May 10, 2021 10:51 PM CST
Polymerous said:* cough * "common wayside flower" * cough *


(Chuckle, chuckle!) nodding
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
May 10, 2021 11:51 PM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice!
Name: Curtis
Oregon (Zone 8b)
CS_925
May 11, 2021 1:18 AM CST
Right now, I'd recommend just focusing on the weeds that are flowering and setting seed. Cut off the tops, deadhead, whatever, just keep them from reseeding (some weeds produce thousands of seeds per plant).

Later this year, maybe consider redoing the bed, and get all the weeds out to "start over". Or, if that's not an option, just work on getting the weeds out as much as you can. At any rate, the best way to deal with weeds is to prevent them from growing in the first place. I highly recommend a preemergent herbicide. I use Preen.

As for mulching, I think it depends on what you are growing (bearded vs beardless), and what you use for mulch. I mulch my beardless with bark mulch, and put it around my bearded irises (but not on top of the rhizomes). That said, in the fall my aunt piles up all the leaves in her yard and runs them through the lawn mower, then dumps them on her flower beds including her bearded irises. They still grow and bloom each year.
[Last edited by CS_925 - May 11, 2021 1:23 AM (+)]
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Name: Wheezy
Cincinnati (Zone 6a)
Irises Dog Lover
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MamaFan
May 11, 2021 9:40 AM CST
julieseward1 said:I put in an iris bed last year. Everyone says not to mulch around Iris. But after a rainy week the weeds are as big as the plants and it's hard to get in to weed without injuring the iris. Plus it is killing my back. Any suggestions on how to win the weed war?


We are both in Ohio. We may have some differences in situation like how much sun and drainage, but borers are a real issue in this region.

Some folks have pine needles("straw?") Which they say is less inclined to contribute to dampness and therefore rot and leaf spot.

I. Love. Tiny stones. Pebble mulch. I bought some as tiny pea gravel pebbles from home depot.

I have clay that I could sculpt with. Drainage challenges. A puppy. A pond. No weed treatments, because either the dog will eat them or it's going to drain as runoff into the pond. The pebbles are not perfect. But the weeding is easier, because the weeds have to get leggy to push their way up so they are easy to pull and significantly more sparse than without them. And they help with crappy drainage issues.

I apply a lot to shape the drainage paths, and not so thick around the irises. Stifles weeds and doesn't contribute to excessive moistness. It's a win for me.
The Allergic Gardener salutes all of you wheezing on your hands and knees in the garden for love of your flowers.
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
May 11, 2021 11:29 AM CST
...and it's pretty too! Thumbs up
Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice!

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