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CULT: Botrytis

Borers may not scare me anymore, but botrytis does!  I've only seen it in 
my garden once before about 5 yrs ago on one rhizome.  Well, it's 
baaaaaack!  At least, I *think* that's what I saw yesterday when I 
finally got up the nerve to see how the main beds are doing this early in 
the season.  Irises are just starting to awaken here, and I wanted to see 
if I could tell who did and didn't survive the last 6 months of winter.

In my wanderings up and down the rows, I found several rzs covered in 
what can best be described as medium brown velvet - obviously a fungus of 
some type.  When I saw botrytis years ago, it was a bit later (and 
warmer) in the season and presented itself as a puffy black mass atop the 
rz. I'm guessing that yesterday's "velvet" is just a less mature 
manifestation of botrytis.  Am I correct?

If this is botrytis, I know I need to dig and destroy the affected rzs 
and their surrounding soil, but here is my question:  how much of the 
surrounding soil do I need to remove to be fairly certain of eliminating 
the botrytis spores?  2" all the way around? 6"? 1'?  Should I hire a 
backhoe to come remove the top 3' of soil from all of my iris beds (I'm 
hoping that would be overkill)?

Neil, I know you've dealt with botrytis in the past.  Help!


USDA zone 3b, AHS zone 4 - northern MN
normal annual precipitation 26-27"
slightly acid clay soil

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