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Re: Borers

From: Irisborer@aol.com

In a message dated 8/17/1999 9:03:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
demilune@emporium.on.ca writes:

<< I removed any wilting leaves and have cut out any roots with evidence of
 infestation and they have all been burned .
 Any ideas on what else to do and what about the soil ? >>


Tell us exactly what you found in your irises.  Tunnels in the rhizomes??  

Irisborer can be treated organically - all you need is time and a cast iron 

First of all.... you need to do nothing with the soil.  The borer lifecycle 
is such that it snacks in the spring and summer, and .... tummy full.... is 
either pupating now or getting ready to do so.  At any rate, this is not a 
vulnerable time for borers and the only time they spend in your soil is the 
time to 'morph' into the moth that lays the eggs from which borers hatch.  If 
you're digging around your iris and find a mahogony-colored capsule... that 
will be your next moth.

The moths hatch soon and fly around for awhile, fall in love and lay eggs on 
your iris.  The eggs remain there until early spring, when they hatch and the 
borer enters your iris leaf sheath.  Charming creatures that they are, they 
proceed to feast on each other before turning attention solely to the iris.  
So you end up with one borer per iris (plenty, I assure you).

Points of control are therefore:

1.  Moth - would mothballs keep them away???  Would insect repellent??  No 
serious control efforts have been made with the moth, I'm told

2.  egg - dormant oil in the winter??  Cleaning up of foliage and debris (for 

3.  Larva - basically, vigilance - search and destroy.  Signs of borer 
include notches on the sides of the leaves in early spring and alime at the 
base of the sheath.  You can try pinching down the sheath if you suspect 
borer.... or get into the plant and drag the sorry bastard out.  

So..... borer are a mechanical problem rather than a disease.  You need only 
remove the borer.... not the soil, rest of the plants or anything else.  Many 
people freak and burn the entire iris bed - but it's totally unnecessary..... 

We have one guy here who is successful with Murphy's oil soap..... any 
interest, let me know.

Kathy Guest
East Aurora, NY

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