Mary Chastain wrote:
as I am concerned I would rather have fewer plants and less infection.
Whoa!!!!!! Mary! Are you really telling these nice people
that they would be better off with fewer hostas????? NO, NO,
NO. You would be better off with many more hostas. Lots and
lots of hostas!
Whew, let me catch my breath.
Some thoughts about nematodes...
Foliar nematodes are a pest of hostas. We have to accept that.
They are also a pest of ferns, anemones, chrysanthemum and related species,
and many other garden perennials. All of these plants also have many
other pests. In general, I cannot see any evidence that nematodes
do enough damage to justify the panic that has surrounded them for the
past couple years. How many hostas have been killed by nematodes
as opposed to voles, deer, crown rot, etc, etc, etc. Yet we see people
threatening to burn all their hostas if they discover nematodes in their
Yes, they do disfigure the leaves in the fall, and yes there does not
seem to be any practical way to completely eliminate them from the garden.
We also can't eliminate slugs, deer, hailstorms, late freezes, and any
number of other things that can damage a plant, so why is it that the word
nematode strikes fear in the hearts of men, oops, hosta persons?
Ever since people started burning their gardens, I have suspected that
there was probably a reasonable way to control these things. The
problem is that with EPA regulations, insectacides can only be labeled
(recommended) for specific pests, and only after extensive and expensive
testing. I always wondered if systemic insecticides like Orthene
and others wouldn't also have some effect on nematodes. Well, come
to find out in the last Hosta Journal, it's even better than that.
There are lots of things that kill nematodes, including such innoucuous
sprays as insecticidal soap and ZeroTol, through such middle of the road
insecticides as diazanon and orthene, and for nurseries, the really toxic
stuff that is even more effective. Some of these less toxic sprays
killed only 60-80% of the nematodes, but I assume that was with one treatment.
In my opinion, if you can kill 60-80% of a pest with a single treatment
of a non-toxic spray, you don't have a problem. Yes, you will still
have nematodes. Maybe you can train your slugs to eat them.
I have to admit that we don't know everything yet, but so far, I just
don't see why everyone is in such a state.
It's like the guy on tv said about the anthrax panic, it may be the
only epidemic in history where only one person died.