Neil -- It's good to hear your "voice" again. I, too, find that irises in
shaded areas or in unshaded areas near shrubbery, are more likely to have
borers. Maybe the borer moth is lazy, hanging out in the shrubbery and
laying the eggs in the nearest plants. I'm happy to report that I don't
have a major borer problem. Up until this year, I have always sprayed with
Cygon in late February, when green growth is just beginning to show and
there often are a few scattered, balmy days. This is when the eggs hatch, I
believe. This year, instead of Cygon, I spread Merit on the plants. After
digging scores of plants in May and early June to make room for new beds, I
think I discovered only a couple of borers. Then there was what I am
convinced was the "June hatch". In mid to late June, I usually find some
borer damage, including miniscule borers, obviously just hatched. I think
this, too, could be effectively minimized by spraying/spreading again in
late May or early June, but I don't like to do it when the plants are
blooming, so I don't. This year, a June borer hit SILVER TRUMPETS, on which
I had a pod from BRAVE NEW WORLD -- and a really odd pod, at that. It
looked like something from outer space, and I'll post a picture of it when
that last roll of the season is developed. Anyhow, in what I find to be a
rare occurrence, the borer had attacked the bloomstalk rhizome, and I
couldn't salvage it without digging it. So I had to dug, cut the full stalk
and put it in a wine bottle with water. It stayed green until 3 or 4 days
ago (i.e., about 6 weeks in the bottle). This morning, there was mold on
the tip of the semi-shriveled pod, so I opened it and was delighted to find
39 seeds -- 30 of them nice and tan and the other 9 white, but probably
I have not noticed that any particular varieties are more susceptible to
borer attack than others. And though borers can hit anywhere among the
plantings, I really think that, as far as patterns of frequency are
concerned, it's like the real estate agents say, "location, location,
location!" And (this is for Tom Silvers) even though it's a chore, I think
prevention is a lesser task than dealing with the ravages of the critters
when a garden is left untreated. -- Griff
----- Original Message -----
From: "Neil A Mogensen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Iris-talk" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 1:04 PM
Subject: [iris] HYB:Borers
> Tom's and Char's comments about borers prompted a few thoughts.
> Because of my numerous medical (mis-)adventures over the past three and a
> half years I seem to have built up a monumental population of the
> I thought I'd put on enough Merit to control--and the area treated did
> fewer than the untreated areas. It was by no means borer-free, however.
> I also noted, as has been commented upon in the past, that there seem to
> more borer attacks under overhanging plants. I did some drastic pruning
> this summer as a result of this observation.
> Among the seedlings, sadly not treated, the losses are horrendous. Even
> some small ones still in their germination cans were hit and died after
> foundation under the foliage was devoured.
> Some seedlings, however, are thriving. Could they be borer resistant?
> seen it proposed that those of us in borer country let the buggers have at
> it in the seedlings, and breed from the survivors. I seem to be doing so
> accident rather than purpose, but I'll take what I get. I don't have any
> choice in the matter, since the damage is done (or being done).
> The small, hard rhizomes of the diploid MTB's may have their relative
> resistance due as much to size as to flavor or other resistance factors.
> There are TB's that are just as healthy--a fact worthy of note. If there
> resistance out there, this is one (sad) way to discover it.
> My daughter, son-in-law and I dug out over a hundred borers in a few rows
> reselect seedlings and best named things, but ran out of steam and time
> before getting any farther. Even so, I see some fans down in the area we
> thought clean. We missed some.
> Tom, the borer doesn't start out big and pink. They are quite tiny when
> they first start in, and in those we dug out of fans that weekend the kids
> were here were all sizes. Apparently the borers hatch over a period of
> time. The typical ones were about as thick as a pencil line, and not over
> half-inch long. Some were quite a bit larger, some we never did find, but
> did eliminate simply by slicing off the fan below the area damaged.
> I cringe everytime I look at the "garden." It is a wasteland, and my
> temptation is simply to dig out the worst affected areas, sort out the
> surviving fragments of irises and replant them after a thorough inspection
> and cleaning. I haven't the energy to start such a project right
> two weeks out from under three surgical procedures back-to-back. I feel
> great as long as I don't *do* anything.
> Even "lurking" on Iris-talk has been a slow process to initiate. By now
> I've read all or most of the posts I'd missed, I think, and found the
> threads quite interesting--in small doses. I read a few each day.
> up on e-mail is just as slow. Walking down to the mailbox to check if the
> *Bulletin* has come yet does motivate me, a little. It's the walk *back*
> that is a challenge.
> Neil Mogensen z 7, Reg. 4 mountains of western NC.
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