Hi there !

I'm new here , but have been posting at rec.gardens.edible for some time now . Rather than pester those folks , I thought I'd ask here . When is a good time to rake the leaves and stuff back off the Iris and similar bulb plants ? We live in a clearing out in the woods , and they get covered with leaves in the fall . Right now we have daffodils budding and starting to bloom , but those will bloom thru snow . I'm looking for a generalization , like after danger of hard freeze or something like that . I'm just not sure how hardy these are , and this has been a really strange winter (North central Arkansas , ~1500 ft elevation on the Ozark Plateau) .
--
Snag



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On 2/26/2016 3:41 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

I live in an area that is generally snow-free with only light frosts a few nights during the winter (never lingering after sunrise). I keep the leaves in my beds all year. In the winter, they protect tender plants from frost damage. In the summer, they keep the soil cool and moist. This latter is important since average daily high temperatures July through September exceed 90F while the air is quite dry.
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David E. Ross

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Terry Coombs wrote:

heya! :)

irises don't like being smothered and will withstand our winters, so i don't think you have any worries down there. i'm assuming you are talking about the rhyzome or bulb kinds and not the more finicky swampy kinds. i clean up the debris either in the late fall or in the early spring. the iris borers eggs are often overwintered in the debris nearby.
daffodils also are very hardy for us if not planted in too low a place, but they also don't do as well planted in narrow raised beds either. otherwise we have them growing up through all sorts of things. if you want them to multiply faster then they do better without competition, but they'll survive with it as long as you don't take off the green leaves when they're growing. the nice thing about daffodils is that the animals will mostly leave them alone. the rest of the bulbs here get eaten by everything. i always plant extra...
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Hi there yerownself ! Yeah , these are the bulb kind , yellow and blue ones . We've got several kinds of daffodils , yellows and whites . All are planted in small open clusters because I know they'll fill in in a a couple of years . We've also got some tulips and some gladiolus in the "rose garden" , and maybe some volunteer marigolds . I haven't had any problems with critters eating the bulbs , though something tunneled right thru the root system of a young rose bush , killing it . -- Snag
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Terry Coombs wrote:

Probably voles, once voles become established you've got a huge problem, they multiply fast, they will kill all your shrubs, and you can forget all about a vegetable garden. Do not set out poison, best solution is a couple of cats... if you live in a rural agricultural area feral cats are best and they will be readily available. Ask the local farmers and most will be happy to let you set traps at their barns as there are always new litters. Just be sure to bring the cats to a vet to be fixed, to be innoculated, and chipped. Then all you'd need to do is have a shelter set up with fresh water and some food. Feral cats are not expensive to feed as they mostly eat what they kill, but putting out food each day keeps them from seeking another feral cat community. If you live where winters are cold you'll need to heat the shelters and use heated water bowls... they're low wattage and on themostats so they cost only pennies a day, the shelter heater is a pad that only comes on at about 35º and only with the weight of a cat. I have heated shelters on my deck and in my barn. I have a half dozen regular ferals that were born in my barn, and then there are several visitors that come to mooch a meal but don't stay long. Feral cats are excellent hunters, they work in teams, my six regulars keep 40 acres clear of all rodents including squirrels, and rabbits too... I have flowering plants coming up that I planted and forgot about until the cats got rid of the rabbits. I made a small opening in my vegetable garden fence and the cats patrol in there constantly, no more nibbled crops. A good shelter is the Kitty Tube: http://www.thekittytube.com/ Costs a bit less on Amazon: (Amazon.com product link shortened) 1&pf_rd_i049WPZX2&pf_rd_m=A%0bTVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_rHDJCR4EW4ZZBRAW95S I have two on my deck:
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Northerntool.com sells this small dog house. It's set up in my gardening shed, I don't tell the cats it's a dog house:
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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

could be one of a number of critters. i would not worry too much about it if there is no repeat. voles can do that, but other animals dig holes too, sometimes plants die from having their roots exposed, other times the animal is feeding upon the plant. not sure in your case as you'd have to inspect the roots for damage.
iris bulbs here are mostly left alone. once in a while a young deer will pull some up when going after the crocuses, but as with the daffodils they learn to not do it again. i just hope to have enough of everything growing that we don't get too depleted.
watching the redtail hawk hunt today was fun. the wind was nearly perfect that it could hover in place to hunt. it even dove into the snow in the back yard to try to catch something, but it missed.
songbird
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