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Re: CULT: solarization

At 05:38 PM 7/21/99 -0400, you wrote:
Hi Iris Friends
A little advice needed for the novice from those of you unfortunate enough to be experienced with this little devil, the iris borer. I discovered, dug and disposed of 4 large trash bags full of infected rhizomes {groan} and now, before I put my precious newbies in the ground, would like to know what, if anything can/should be done to the soil to treat it, in case any of those foul foragers should still be lurking. I understand the life cycle story of the borer, and that from here on out I should be looking for pupae and disposing (in the fall) of dead foliage. But I'm wondering, in case any larvae remain, if there's anything I should be doing to keep them from my new (and salvaged) rhizomes, other than avoiding that part of the bed altogether.

Thanks in advance, for your input.

Mary Blatz
Skaneateles, NY (near Syracuse) USDA Zone 5

Mary -
Anytime in midsummer that you have the opportunity, like a bed that is empty and you haven't added compost yet, think about solarization. Clear sheet plastic is available from Home Depot and others in a bewildering variety of sizes. I just bought a 10x100 4 mil. roll for $15. Cover the bed, sealing off all the edges with some dirt, and leave it in full sun for at least two weeks. Use clear, not black plastic. This is widely used in California for nemotode control, but also controls a number of other problems, not the least of which can be borer larva. Your new rhizomes will flourish quite nicely in pots while you are doing this. Afterwards till in your compost and plant your bed.
A widespread outbreak in an existing bed may require a systemic insecticide, although keeping a close watch and squeezing the leaf in early spring below the chomp marks has been effective for me - and it's such a satisfying pop.

James Brooks
Jonesborough, TN
Persimmon Katz
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