Sun, 25 Nov 2012 15:13:46 PST
Hey Colleen 

Gee i haven't been here for months, I've been away & so busy but hello everyone.. :-)

I live I'n Australia, my last girlfriend was from NE California so i know your dry conditions & soil type, although our rain fall is higher than yours, i suffer very long droughts some years & given my poor soil conditions & my barren mountain top, we probably have very similar growing conditions, I've just been through 80 days of what i call micro-drought, searing heat dry winds & not a drop of water until last couple of weeks. Flowers are bursting from the ground every where at last..

Bearded iris like to grow at the surface with their rhizomes "always" partially exposed to sunlight so mulching stops this & it does carry some weight I'n regard to quality of flowering,
"I'n my experience, that is the case!"  Although I've only been growing them for 10 or 12 years, i know they are just happier I'n the sun. The years i don't get around to uncovering them, there is always a loss or two :-(
I noticed people thought you might be ok for rot, I'n the dry & i do mulch my gardens during extreme dry, with fine mixed hard & soft wood mulch "which does carry potential for decease" but it works for me & my leaf drop is very heavy too, so they have to put with being covered sometimes because the chickens & scrub turkeys scratch mulch & leaves all over them,  but i always go round & scrape it back around the edges of my bearded irises because they can get fungal problems & rot even I'n extreme dry seasons.. The base of the leaf can rot too & although not so common they can get root rot too, if they wilt this could be part of the problem.

In summery i would not leave them covered for extended periods if it's convenient to remove the bulk of the mulsh.

Esk Queensland Australia :  )

On 26/11/2012, at 2:16 AM, "Colleen" <> wrote:
> I have an unexpected large amount of leaves this fall, mostly large elm
> leaves, so I have been piling them on my flower beds as a mulch.  Most of my
> Iris still have green leaves.  Is it OK to bury them under leaves
> Thanks
> Colleen
> High desert, NE California, zone 5-6
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