Wild iris - any experiences?

laura_nash

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Hi All

We have arranged to swap a field with one of our neighbours. They have a field behind our house and we have one next to theirs, both the same size and neither with great access without going down each others drives, so it seemed to make sense!

The neighbour had been keeping his broodmares in the one we are getting (donkey and connemara) and it looked tidy enough so I wasn't too worried about weeds, but having had a good walk around yesterday there is a very wet bit in the corner and what I thought was rushes is now in flower and is wild iris. Loads of rhizomes all over the surface. Its probably about 1/8 acre that is covered. From reading up on it, it seems to be poisonous to horses though they won't usually eat it. Still, I would like to get rid if I can.

I was thinking of spraying with something like roundup, but presumably will then need to remove all the rhizomes or fence it off for some time? Plus its going to stay wet so they may just come back? Has anyone any experience with these, either removing them or having them growing in the horses field?

Thanks
 

outinthefens88

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In the land of no hills.....
If the area is very wet due to natural spring, watercourse or drainage system - spraying is not an option as you may/will in all likehood contaminate the groundwater - which could land you with an extremely large fine from the Environmental Agency.

Perhaps easier to dig them out?
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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Spraying would not work anyway. I think you would have quite a job to remove them, could you tape the area off?
 
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MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Um, maybe I'm wrong here, but are they a "protected" plant?? I'd check that up if I were you, or perhaps someone else on here knows?

On the plus side, if you have Yellow Iris growing in a watercourse, it is a sign that the water is good and fresh. I know this because a few years ago we were accused by a very nasty neighbour downstream of our place, of "polluting" their stream going down from us, by our sewarage/effluent.

The Environment Agency came out and looked over our place, and in the garden - well away from any livestock - we had some lovely yellow Irises. Immediately, the Environment Agency chappie got out his pen and ticked every single box on his list and said that he knew that the water in the stream was OK because the EA apparently use Yellow Iris as an indicator of good quality water, i.e. Yellow Iris cannot/will not grow if the water purity falls under a certain standard.

So you can be reassured that your horses are drinking lovely pure water!

I'd fence it off if you can and leave be, use it as an indicator that your horses' drinking water is OK. It would be a shame to kill it - and if you do try to kill it, you will immediately run into problems re. using weedkillers near a water course.......... check out the DEFRA and EA websites for guidance.
 

laura_nash

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Hi, sorry for the delay in responding and thanks for all the replies.

The horses drinking water is our drinking water, so I hope its clean! We are both supplied by the local group water scheme with water from Lough Corrib. They don't drink from the nearest watercourse, which is some distance away on the other side of a neighbour's (boggy) 2 acre field. We do have good water quality around here though, a nearby turlough has a lot of wildlife. I'm not sure where the water is coming from so I guess it is a spring. Pretty sure we don't have DEFRA or EA over here (Ireland), but I assume there are similar agencies of some kind so I guess spraying is out. I hadn't really thought of that since the neighours all spot spray their wet fields for thistles etc. in summer. It is a lot dryer at this time of year.

The problem with fencing it off long term is the impossibility of fencing. Its thin peat over solid limestone here, great for not getting muddy, terrible for fencing. The fields are all surrounded with old dry stone walls which are mostly held together by ivy, new or repaired walls tend to collapse when it rains if they're not concreted. I use the plastic electric fencing posts in summer for strip grazing but any other time of year they are impossible as they fall over whenever it rains or blows (which it pretty much does all winter). I was hoping to use this field in winter since it is so close to the house. If its the only option then we will have to try and wall it off or put in some concrete fence posts but it will be significant work so it seems better to spend that effort removing the iris's if possible. It sounds like digging them out would be the only option - maybe raking them off since they seem to be mostly on the surface?

I can't find any evidence it is protected, it seems to be pretty common around here.
 

wildhorses

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Can you not just leave it? If the field has been used for other horses in the past with no problems.

We have boggy bit in one of our fields due to a natural spring, full of marsh type vegetation, the horses have no real interest in going through the bog and just stay away. We have some Iris's growing, orchids and other wetland plants which support a whole community of insects, spiders, voles, frogs etc. If the wet patch isn't doing any harm why not just let it be.
 
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