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Protecting Your Irises from Ice Damage

Reprinted from Comanche Acres Iris Garden Newsletter No. 4/2021

2021 Newsletter #4
Hello Iris Friends,
I think the record-breaking cold has broke for now. We have been above freezing for two days now, and the forecast is for 50 degrees in a couple of days. Maybe we can burn the fields in a couple of weeks.
I am considering this newsletter an emergency. I am hearing from many of you about frozen iris plants. Some of you sent pictures. If there was any size to your plants and they were frozen in ice, you will need to act immediately to save your plants. When the temps thaw the plants out, cut the plants off at ground level to the top of the rhizomes.

Some of you have shared with me that your plants turned to mush. You cannot hurt the plant if it is turning to mush anyway. When you cut them off, sprinkle Comet cleanser heavily on top of the rhizomes. The Comet will dry up the rot and prevent further damage. Forget bloom for this year. Some may bloom, but the important thing is saving the plants. You probably will have some losses, but you can expect many losses if you do not take action.
I would also recommend a spring fertilizer application, especially if you did not fertilize last fall or never fertilized your irises. They will need all the help they can get. We offer fertilizer on our website at
If you have had a good snow cover, your irises will probably be fine. The thick ice on exposed iris plants is a real problem. There is not much you can do other than what I have suggested. If you have more questions, e-mail me,
God Bless you and your gardens.

Jim Hedgecock

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