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Re: CULT: Agricultural Antibiotics/Agrimycin

From: HIPSource@aol.com

In a message dated 12/4/99 5:29:27 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
vincelewonski@yahoo.com writes:

<<    FIRST: Any chemical that can be applied to fruit trees can't be that 
dangerous, due to the large industrial sprayers needed to apply it in a less 
than precise fashion,
and due to the fact that the crop ends up in our gizzards. >>

I would not bet on it. 

 << SECOND: Other chemicals are used widely to combat rot, such as bleach, 
sulfur, and Comet. No one seems to have a  problem with their use,>>

I would not bet on that, either. We just keep on recommending them, don't we, 
just like we used to recommend DDT for irises and arsenates and all kinds of 
stuff. I will note in passing that bleach is not labeled for legal use on 
irises, an awkward little fact recently brought to my attention by a plant 
pathologist working with horticultural issues.  

<<  There is a demand for products  such as Agrimycin because bleach, sulfur 
and Comet often don't solve the problem.>>

Oh, I'm sure that point is perfectly clear to all. And I'm also sure we will 
all agree that for all such problems the best course is prevention through 
good cultural practices.  

<<   THIRD: I read a request for info on Agrimycin. I did not  see anything 
there suggesting that it would be applied at a  concentration in excess of 
what is recommended, nor that it  would be applied as a drench to the whole 
garden, nor that
 Tetracycline would be used. Some of us actually read the  directions on the 

I answered the question that was asked directly, and I answered as 
comprehensively as I could, with appropriate disclaimers as to my own level 
of expertise. I also expanded the discussion into related areas of concern to 
me, which is my prerogative, just as it has been your prerogative to expand 
it. This is not the first time these issues have arisen on this list, nor the 
first time they have been discussed by knowledgeable irisarians among 
themselves. I was urged to reconsider use of antibiotics some years ago by a 
senior member of AIS when I, as a novice dutifully trying to learn all I 
could about iris culture, mentioned it at a local meeting, believing it to be 
the last word in sophisticated rot problem solving. The pieces from Ian that 
I quoted are from the list Archives, and may be evaluated in full context 

<<  FOURTH: Why is treating rot considered an environmental hazard while 
spraying more dangerous chemicals for borer control and leaf spot are not?>>

I never suggested any such thing and I assure you plenty of people are indeed 
concerned about the environmental and health aspects of using dangerous 
chemicals for borer and spot. Again, I refer you to the Archives for 

<< FIFTH: Going from applying Agrimycin to a couple of rhizomes to mutant E. 
coli and flesh eating bacteria seems a bit of a stretch. We're talking about 
Erwinna here, which is not killing off old folks in England, and which has 
not been dosed with every known antibiotic while in humans by members of the 

Ian is permitted his concerns, as am I. My intent in providing the person who 
raised the question with some additional information, which she solicited, 
was that she might be aware of other's concerns when she was arriving at an 
independent informed decision about what to do in her own garden.

<<  SIXTH: While some varieties may be more susceptible to rot than others, I 
have not heard of any bearded iris that is immune from rot. So the 
possibility exists that any rhizome in my backyard could get rot and kick 
off. It's luck of the draw. >>

It is not invariably just a question of luck. Rot happens, but it can be 
discouraged. However if the growing conditions are not correct, it is almost 

<<To suggest that the few that do get rot should always be considered 
inferior plants and heaved seems drastic.>>

People must decide for themselves what they think is a good plant. I'm on 
record as not being interested in turning my garden into a toxic waste dump 
or an infirmary. And I think many people would say that an iris which 
repeatedly shows a tendency to disease when grown properly is inferior to 
those which flourish with the same care.  

<< Especially if it's a $50 introduction... >>

Ah, now that is the rub, isn't it?  

Anner Whitehead

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