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CULT: Borers and I.versicolor

From: HIPSource@aol.com

In a message dated 11/30/98 10:39:17 PM Eastern Standard Time,
dmason@rainyriver.Lakeheadu.Ca writes:

<<  The nearest bearded irises to my gardens were 2 1/2 miles away and they
were several clumps around a foundation. There  are probably more than a
million I. Versicolor growing within 2 1/2 miles..........>>

Oh, dear! You probably got Borers, right there in Versicolor City, Borers with
a capitol B which rhymes with T which stands for Trouble...... 
<< I don't know if I. Versicolor is a good nurse crop for borers, or if the
borers come from another source. I've  never noticed anything bothering I.
Versicolor in the wild
 but I haven't looked closely. There is so much of it growing
 so well everywhere that I presumed nothing was bothering it.>>

Regret to say that the borer thrives on Iris versicolor. Some have even
suggested there is a special relationship between the borer and versicolor.
Here is what Clarence Mahan said in April of 1996 on the natural food of

<<<It is my understanding that the iris borer is indigenous only to the
 U.S., no place else.  It was here long before the Europeans came.  And what 
 did it eat...why I.  versicolor,  I. virginica, I. hexagona, I. fulva, I.
setosa, etc, i.e. irises indigenous to the eastern U.S.  Interestingly, if
borer gets into I. versicolor it does not seem to do as much damage to a clump
as it will in a bearded iris.  >>

So I don't know what to say, given the populations in your neighborhood, other
than to learn to be ever vigilant and recognize the signs of borer action in
the early stages and smoosh them manually. You might want to use chemicals, I
suppose, although it sounds like there will always be another borer coming
down the pike for you and Cygon is very nasty medicine indeed. But one thing
is certain, I surely would not be growing any versicolor in my yard, were I
you, and I would grow all  my irises in the very hottest, dryest and sunniest
parts of the yard I had, with no nearby evergreens, no overhanding shrubs, no
shade, no cool earth, and no debris whatsoever in the beds, since the borer is
shy and secretive and likes the shady areas, likes cooler earth, likes
evergreens, and likes some shelter. Or so they tell us.You  might want to read
some ideas I had about dormant oil sprays to kill eggs which will be found in
the  Archives. I have some other unorthodox ideas involving mothballs, but I
have not worked the bugs out of them...so to speak.

Anner Whitehead

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