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      Melinda's Garden Moment: Dividing Iris

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      Ifyour bearded iris are overcrowded like this or failed to bloom in spring – itis time to dig, divide and replant for better bloom next season.

      Start the process about 6 to 8 weeksafter the iris bloomed, or in some cases, should have flowered. Carefully lift the clump out of the groundwith a shovel or garden fork.

      Nowseparate the thick fleshy rhizomes. Cutaway and discard old leafless, shriveled, borer-infested or rotted rhizomes.

      Nextcut the leaves down to 4 to 6 inches to reduce moisture loss.

      Amendthe soil with compost or other organic matter before planting your divisions.

      Setyour iris in place, spread out roots and cover with soil. The rhizomes should be even with the soilsurface in heavy soils and just slightly lower in sandy soils.

      Waterto help remove air pockets and get your iris off to a growing start.

      Discovered iris borerwhile transplanting? You can help reduce future problems with a bit of fallcleanup. The adult borer is a day flyingmoth that lays its eggs in the leaf debris.By removing all the dead iris leaves in fall, you will break the lifecycle and usually eliminate the problem.

      For more gardening tips, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.

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