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Oh, the beauty of iris in spring! Just kidding. If you did nothing in the fall with the iris, then they will look like this. The leaves are brown and grey, mottled with mildew and lying on the ground. Time for some work on these guys. But don’t be discouraged, with just a few minutes of work, they will be all cleaned and neat.
I like to tug at the leaves and most of them will give way in your hand, then take a rake and clean up the refuse. Any leaves that refuse to rip out can be cut with a scissors, leaving the garden clean and neat again. What a relief!
When you are pulling at the dead iris leaves, some of the rhizomes will probably pull out too. Not to worry. Check out the rhizome and see if it is dead or alive – your first clue will be if it has any roots. If there are no roots on it, or if the roots break off, throw it in the compost pile. Dead or dying rhizomes will feel very light in your hand, because they have lost all there ability to hold moisture. If you spot some insect holes in the rhizome, them throw these in the trash. No need to allow safe harbor for borers in your beautiful cleaned -up flower bed!
Iris are very prolific and once you have cleaned up the dead leaves and rhizomes, they will begin growing and fill in quickly.