Daylilies forum→Leaf mulch or not?

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Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: Massachusetts Bee Lover
Daylilies
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Zoia
Oct 2, 2021 1:21 PM CST
So, pretty soon, it'll be time to drag fallen leaves somewhere. Normally, I cover all my beds with them but this year I have a new problem. I got a bad case of rust that spread everywhere from a Southern plant. Should I leave everything exposed to make sure the rust spores die? Or will it die even if covered by leaves? I don't know the temperatures required to reliably kill it.

Any ideas on the subject?
Name: Justine
Maryville, Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Hybridizer Cat Lover Birds Daylilies Tropicals Farmer
Apples Peonies Irises Lilies Deer Greenhouse
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Hembrain
Oct 2, 2021 3:59 PM CST
Zoia, that's no fun! Ive been there, and it's super uncool. I've enjoyed a rust-free year this year because I (somehow!!) stayed disciplined enough not to buy from milder climes. REALLY wanted to, but didn't.

Thank goodness for meaningful winters. Where I am, the evergreens and sevs don't always die down completely but rust has not overwintered for me even when plants were total rust-buckets. I mulch in spring but don't cover the plants in winter. I know people who have it a bit colder and rust has overwintered under mulch "blankets". I'm sure you are invested in losing the rust without losing plants. I'd suggest allowing leaves and crowns to be exposed but mulching with leaves around the plants because leaves make awesome weed-resisting mulch. Grinding up leaves by using a mulcher or mower may help them stay put around plants, or letting them sit in a pile and get wet and partially decomposed will allow you to mulch with flat clumps around plants (almost like tiling). Best wishes for a fresh start. I'm sure they'll do fine.
The obstacle IS the path...
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: Massachusetts Bee Lover
Daylilies
Image
Zoia
Oct 2, 2021 4:47 PM CST
Thanks Justine! I normally use red hemlock mulch for mulch. The leaves are just a blanket for the winter that gets raked off in March. Oak leaves are great for that as they don't mat and create an airless environment. But, at the risk of losing some more tender cultivars, I think I'll leave them open this year to be sure that the rust dies.
Name: Justine
Maryville, Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Hybridizer Cat Lover Birds Daylilies Tropicals Farmer
Apples Peonies Irises Lilies Deer Greenhouse
Image
Hembrain
Oct 5, 2021 8:31 AM CST
Sounds like a good plan. Here's hoping they show themselves to be amazingly hardy! I've been impressed by how well exposed/potted DLs have done in winter even through freeze/thaws and frozen weeks.

In the middle of the awful situation, the last thing one feels like doing is documenting the thing. I admire the folks who turn the problem into an opportunity for gathering info. When my garden was a rusty atrocity one year, I took not a single picture of the rust. Now I wish I had been a better photojournalist. I see other, wiser folks taking notes about how different cultivars coped with rust and using that info in promoting or culling their stock, and adjusting their breeding programs accordingly. So don't forget to take pictures and/or make notes!
The obstacle IS the path...
Name: Zoia Bologovsky
Stoneham MA (Zone 6a)
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: Massachusetts Bee Lover
Daylilies
Image
Zoia
Oct 5, 2021 6:21 PM CST
Hmm, yes, I've been taking flower photos but I should document the rust susceptibility too. One thing I definitely noticed, Ruffled Ruby does not seem to be at all affected. This was noticed by others in some rust articles and it appears to be true here as well.
Name: Nan
southeast Georgia (Zone 8b)
Keeps Horses Daylilies Region: Georgia Birds Bookworm
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DeweyRooter
Oct 6, 2021 6:19 AM CST
Zoia, consider putting a report to that effect in the database entry for Ruffled Ruby. Rust susceptibility is the very first thing I look for when I researching cultivars to try. Any experiences of other gardeners help with the decisions.

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