Re: CULT:HYB:Botrytis [was OT-BIO: Kent Appleberry in Utah]
I am happy to add my word of welcome to this list to those you have already received!
I also concur with the sound advice you have been offered by Griffin Crump, Neal Mogensen, and others, except that my experience leads me to conclude that Neal is being a bit too optimistic when he writes:
<< As to Botrytis, at 6000 ft, if you have continual snow cover, you may not
have much problem. Botrytis is particularly a problem where irises are
subjected to rapid freeze and thaw with quite a lot of time during the
dormant season spent right around 32 degrees. You probably don't have
that--plunging abruptly into hard frozen ground and having snow cover most
of the winter, then thawing fairly rapidly in the spring. >>
Here in Cache Valley we generally have continual snow cover through the winter once in starts to accumulate without even partial thaws. This does not prevent Botrytis rot from being the most serious disease/pest problem of irises here. Over the years I have lost more rhizomes to it by far than to all other causes combined. This past winter the ground was under snow cover of up to three foot depth from the big blizzard in early January until serious thawing began in late March. My iris beds were not completely clear of snow until April 10. Once they were, I discovered Botrytis rot in 30 out of 450 bearded iris clumps (I don't ever recall seeing Botrytis rot in a beardless iris here). This is about an average rate of infection here. Only two cultivars were totally lost - it is usually the newly acquired, single rhizome divisions that succumb - I have learned never to plant only single divisions when I divide and replant irises that I am already growing, or the losses would be the same
among them. I clean out the rot, or dispose of the whole rhizome if is beyond saving, and dust the wounded area with a chlorinated scouring powder (this makes me feel better even if it doesn't do any real good for the iris, and besides it visibly marks the infected clump so I can keep an eye on it - what really curbs the infection is the drying out of the soil and the rise in temperature above about 40 degrees which suppresses the growth of the fungus).
On a more positive note, we are just about at peak bloom here, and it is turning out to be a very good season. The slow warm-up this year held the irises back a little bit, but also allowed them to reach a full state of development, which means tall stalks and high bud count. Also, there were no late freezes to damage the bloom. I have had nearly 50 (out of about 300) TBs so far that have bloomed on stalks of 40" or more in height - while Hager's TRIPLE WHAMMY is standing at 52" in the garden, and it hasn't opened its first bud yet. My entry of a stalk of Keppel's LOCAL COLOR that stood 42" in the garden won the Best Specimen in Show award at our Logan Iris Society show this weekend, though height isn't everything, as it beat a stalk of Paul Black's INTIMIDATOR that the lady who entered it measured at 54" before she cut it for the show!
Jeff Walters in northern Utah (USDA Zone 4b)
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