• April 26, 2019

The flowers are blooming - Odessa American: Lifestyle

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The flowers are blooming

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  • Spring has Sprung

    Irises are blooming in a beautiful array of varieties and colors. To see them all in one place the Permian Basin Iris Society is sponsoring their 31st Annual Iris Show on Saturday at Music City Mall.

Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2019 3:00 am

Are your iris blooming? It is a wonderful time of the year to see all the varieties and colors of the iris flowers. Look for them as you drive around town. If you want to see many different colors in the same place, come to the Music City Mall 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Burlington.

The Permian Basin Iris Society is sponsoring their 31st Annual Iris Show. Iris of all varieties will be entered. These will be judged by American Iris Society Judges and will receive ribbons and other prizes. There will be iris arrangements done to this year’s theme “Easter Parade.” They too will be judged.

Iris photos will also be judged. This show is open for anyone to enter. If you have iris or would like to take photos or do designs, email debbie@loveirises.com to get the specifics and guidelines.

Now if you have iris you should be doing a few things in the spring to make them look and grow really great.

The beds around your iris should be cleaned up. Remove limp outside foliage as the iris grows, otherwise do not trim iris foliage if it is green. Brown or diseased leaves should be cut off and removed from the garden. At all times from February - October, try to keep all garden litter, grasses, etc. away from the rhizome. Bloom stalks (not leaves!) should be cut off or broken off close to the ground after blooming. It is especially important to keep the garden clean during winter and not allow dead leaves, etc. to remain around the plants. This lets insects survive and allows molds to flourish.

In February you should fertilize your iris. If you missed it, do it now. Yes, you usually should fertilize to improve growth and bloom. But it is very easy to over fertilize. Always use a balanced fertilizer. Make sure the first number (nitrogen) is very low. Too much nitrogen will cause rapid growth of the leaves and no flowers. It also will cause soft rot. Liquid fertilizers can be used but must be diluted to 10-10-10. Never use foliar fertilizing or get it on the fans. A tried and true recipe from the Permian Basin Iris Society is a mix of organic materials with necessary trace minerals and a good dose of the ingredient needed to make your iris get a good growing start when first planted and then to continue to bloom heartily.

  • 8 cups unfurled (no fat) alfalfa pellets (horse food)
  • 4 cups of general-purpose fertilizer 10-10-10 ratio (10 or less of each ingredient)
  • 1 cup pellet Super Phosphate (not triple phosphate)
  • Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons in the planting hole. Reapply in February to the surface and water (don’t scratch) in. If growing rebloomers wait two weeks after first bloom and reapply. Repeat after each bloom. If using on non-rebloomers, fertilize again in June and in September after cleaning out the beds. TIP: After combining all, mix it well. But when applying to the soil, remix immediately before applying.

You must get on top of pest control. We have already had a large outbreak of aphids, so don’t wait, check your yard now. Iris have several different types of pests. There are those pesty aphids which can produce 80 offspring in a week. They damage the forming buds. Spray about a week after fertilizing but before bloom starts. You will need to keep checking and respraying when needed. Check with your local nursery to see what is best. You can also have grasshoppers and will probably just have to squash them, because they just eat the leaves-not fatal but just ugly. You might need go check for a bacterial disease called soft rot. The leaves will suddenly collapse. If you see it you should dig rhizome, cut and scrape off all the soft part of the rhizome. Then soak in 10% bleach solution overnight. Dig out the soil around where the iris was planted and replace with new soil. If you have rabbits, they will eat the leaves and flowers and build nests under the rhizomes. The only way to corral them is to fence around the beds with chicken wire during bloom time.

Be sure to get out in your yard or explore the town’s yard and see all those beautiful blooming iris. Cut a few and enter our show! We would love to have you. Or just come see them from 1-4:30 p.m. If you have any questions about iris call 432-352-5483 or email debbie@loveirises.com.