Daylilies forum: Beginner Daylily Planter - Questions, Advice, Planning Help

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Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Jul 22, 2018 11:51 AM CST
Hello all,

I am trying to do some planning around a bed of mine that consists of mostly daylilies.

I am a new gardener and inherited this bed a couple months ago. So, I am looking for some help and advice on how to make my daylilies the best they can be.

Here are the daylilies that I currently have: (Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso')

Thumb of 2018-07-22/Verac/eec944
Thumb of 2018-07-22/Verac/f7cc34
Thumb of 2018-07-22/Verac/d6d041
Thumb of 2018-07-22/Verac/c39ac0

Here is a picture of the bed in question with some added overlay information:

Thumb of 2018-07-22/Verac/39dbbb

Now, here is what I currently envision doing to this bed. (If any of this is unnecessary or would be counter productive, feel free to point it out!)

1. Remove all the daylilies
2. Dig out some wild sown privot (or it might be a tree sapling), mimosa trees, etc. (There are mini stumps in the bed)
3. Improve the soil (this I am least knowledgeable about. The bed could have been untouched for a number of years so I am unsure what I can do to help the soil or if that is even needed. I plan on having my soil tested. I imagine that mixing in fertilizer or compost or something would be beneficial?
4. Replace the little bed boundaries (currently brick as shown in photos. They seem to have been there for many years and most are embedded and or half fallen over)
5. Determine if part of the bed is unsuitable for daylilies due to reduced sunlight (namely the left side)
6. Replant daylilies
7. Mulch the bed (I read that this is beneficial, plus it looks good and can help prevent weeds yeah?)

Now, that is what I envision doing at this point. To that end, I'd like some advice on any of those along with some possible help to the following questions:

1. What can I do to help the soil and is anything needed?
2. I pulled out a large pile of dead leaves this weekend. Is this normal for the summer? Leaves were all dry and completely tan and came off the plant easily.
3. I've read confusing things about watering daylilies. I think I read that they need water if you aren't getting 1" of rain per week, but that watering them in high heat can encourage fungus growth. How do I water these then in the summer?
4. When is the best time to dig these up so that I can do a mini overhaul of the bed? How long can I keep them out of the ground?
5. Does cutting back the stems really help the plant? (I cut all the stems as low as I could once all the flowers dropped off.
6. What do you think about this bed in terms of daylight? I'm still trying to figure out how much direct sun it actually gets. I noticed that soon after the sun is up and over the trees (7AMish) the bed starts getting direct light. I think the right two quadrants get sun for most of the day while the left two quadrants start getting shade sometime in the afternoon.

Anywho, I think I've run out of questions for the moment. Any advice is appreciated!

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
Jul 22, 2018 12:23 PM CST
Here is my take on the situation.
1. For soil improvement add copious amounts or organic material every year.
2. It is normal for the early set of leaves to die off during the summer months, I have removed wheelbarrow loads already, and have a lot more clumps yet to do.
3. Water as much as you can or as much as your soil will allow, or as much as you can afford: Depending on the situation, I would not be too concerned about watering, I think it would be adding chemical fertilizer along with the water during the hot months that would be a problem, and the fact that you have clay soil you might have to be careful and check the drainage (that is where the organic material help).
4.I would dig them when you get a cool period in early fall.
5. I don't cut back the scapes (stems) I let them die and then they just pull off easily. Often they will have proliferations on them so I want them to stay as long as possible. I have never been able to tell leaving the scapes or cutting them or pulling them made any different as far as plant growth. Others might chime in on that.
6. Generally speaking, the more sun the more blooms, but some plants do appreciate getting out of the afternoon hot sun. I think generally at least 6 hours of direct sunlight is recommended, but I am sure that varies with the density of any shade involved.
I can say through experience that the amount of sun varies during the year, and in the early spring tall trees will shade a good portion of the plants in parts of my garden and that will affect their growth early on and it will affect how soon they bloom.
I would move the bed, or have the trees trimmed.
Edited to add:
I would not keep the current dayliles in the same bed as any other named varieties I was planning to add, because of their tendency in my garden to take over, they may not behave that way in your zone.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jul 22, 2018 12:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
Jul 23, 2018 9:47 AM CST
A good at-home method of checking soil for content is to put a decent amount in a glass jar, fill with water and shake. Wait til everything settles, as the soil makeup will settle out in layers. Sand on the bottom, clay at the top of the precipitate, any organic matter will float.

As Larry said, organic matter is important. It improves drainage by increasing pore spaces so there's more space for water to flow through. Works for sandy soils as well, helps the water holding capacity.
Scout's motto: Be Prepared...

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