Mid-summer garden check-up
July 13th, 2020
At this point in the summer, your gardening to-do list should be mostly about maintenance. Keep weeding and deadheading flowers like dahlias, marigolds, and salvia. Keep an eye out for emerging pests and fungus like aphids or powdery mildew and be proactive before they can wreak havoc on your garden plants.
If you’ve got bearded irises in your landscape, now is the time to divide them. Overcrowding can result in fewer blooms or no blooms at all, so it’s a good idea to divide and replant them every few years.
To divide your irises:
- Trim the leaves, leaving a fan of leaves that is about a third of their height. (If you divided your irises last year, you should still do this step each summer.)
- Gently dig the rhizomes, shaking off excess dirt.
- Separate the rhizomes, making sure that each one has a healthy fan of leaves. You may need a sharp blade for this task. If the rhizomes are clumped together, run them under a hose to get rid of clay-like soil so you can more easily separate them.
- Plant the rhizomes, properly spaced about a foot or two apart. Don’t plant too deeply. While you should be sure that the roots are planted and spread out in the dirt to give them room to grow, rhizomes should be visible at the soil surface. PlantTalk ColoradoTM recommends that you plant them so that the fans all face the same direction so that the plants don’t grow into each other.
You may find that you need to find new places to plant all of the rhizomes. If you’ve run out of space in your own landscape, be a friendly neighbor and offer the extra rhizomes for others to enjoy.