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Re: CULT: HYB: stalk rot

I'm starting to see a bit of that here already this year.  My experience
is that once it starts, there isn't much that can be done to stop it if
we are having muggy hot weather with thunder showers nearly every

Sometimes the seeds may be mature enough to germinate anyway.  If they
are at least 6 weeks old, and the pod has completely turned to mush
before you catch it, rinse the goop off the seeds, dry them and they
might germinate.

Once the stalk has rotted, nutrition is not there for the pod anymore.
If the pod is still sound or partially so, take it indoors to a dry
windowsill not in direct sunlight.

Some folks try to give additional nutrition to a pod if it is still
sound by attaching it to a potato or supporting it with toothpicks over
sugar/Clorox water, but my experience is that once the pod has any rot
at all, trying to feed it just makes it worse.

In my experience, here it happens in cultivars that are difficult to set
seeds on or  sometimes on 'good' cultivars using pollen parents that
have chronic health problems here.

I rarely see soft rot go all the way to the rhizome any more, except
occasionally in new stuff that I haven't killed yet, or if we get a
really nasty late freeze, but once weather is conducive to foliar
disease, some of which is bacterial soft rot, cultivars that aren't most
resistant to rot will usually lose stalks and pods.  If they are fairly
early bloomers (ones that weren't frozen out by late winter/early spring
freezes), pods are usually mature enough to produce viable seeds by the
time the worst stalk rot hits.

So, Barbara, from the last elected Rot Queen, to the resident rot queen
in Tyler Texas, take it as an opportunity to identify which cultivars
are most disease resistant in your growing conditions.

Next year, try cutting back on nitrogen and adding more phosphorus and
crushed dolomitic limestone.  Might not help at all, but at least you'll
feel like you are doing something and it won't hurt.  Also check with ag
extension agent to make sure there aren't any trace element shortages in
the soil in your area.

<I have lost a lot of crosses made later in the season because of a rot
                   starts with the fading flower material and then runs
down the bloomstalk.  An
                   iris friend 90 miles to the north is having the same
problem.  I thought it
                   could be caused by the "pollen-eating" bugs so I
sprayed a fungicide-insecticide
                   mix but either didn't help or was too late.  I thing
the pollen-eating bugs
                   might be cucumber beetles and they are an enormous
problem.  I asked the Bug
                   Lady on PBS about the problem but didn't get a
satisfactory answer.  Anyway maybe
                   I have two problems.  Several of the earlier pods
that had swelled to great
                   size also got this rot problem with the bloomstalk
and of course fell off.  I
                   do everything to avoid the bloomstalk holding
moisture including stripping all
                   leaves and branches and this year even resorted to
cutting the tops of the
                   flower off as the rot seemed to start there, not the
case with the matured pods
                   however.  Any help is welcome.
                   Barbara Null
                   Tyler, TX (rot capital of the world)>

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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