I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it with
my own eyes.
Here in Phoenix, we do not get iris borers, and I
had never seen one in my life except for pictures.
Well, this morning I went outside to notice the fan
of one of my favorite irises SCOONCHIE (Desantis '98) was laying over on the
ground. The center leaf was munched on by something, and I thought to
myself, "I have an IRIS BORER!!!"
I pulled the leaves gently and they came clean away
from the rhizome, rotted where it had been attached. I thought I had
better pull the rhizome.
I got a spade and lifted it out, and sure enough,
along the top of the rhizome was a canal that led to a catapillar like thing -
but it did not look like the borer that is pictured in The Gardener's Iris
Book , by Bill Shear - page 55 in the edition I have.
This one was similar in appearance, except for
the color. Instead of being pinkish-white, this one was clearly
a dark grey color, with a black head. I might even go so far as
to say it was grey with slight green, and the body was not as segmented as
the picture in the book - for it was more smooth.
Of course I wondered how it got there, but
I did purchase many irises from outside my own state this year, a thing I
had never before done.
All the irises I planted were trimmed and shaved,
and I took a brush to them to remove as much dirt as possible. They were
all allowed to dry for a minimum of two weeks - but much of them were drying
much longer. SCOONCHIE was out of the ground two months.
My questions are:
If what I found chomping on the rhizome is NOT a
borer, then what is it? Do borers come in different colors? Could a borer
egg survive the trip to Phoenix and hatch here and survive until planted?
Could the different climate, soil, and AZ grown rhizome give the borer a
Any info would be helpful...In the mean time, the
rhizome is drying, tomorrow I will cut off the rot, soak in bleach solution, and
allow to dry three days and then replant. Only 10-20% was eaten, and there
are three pups coming out of the sides. It is still 90 degrees here during the
day - so not too late to plant irises I hope.
Zone 9 Region 15