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CULT: Aphids and PBF

From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <jcwalters@bridgernet.com>

Sandra Archibald wrote:

> Next year I will check into this more closely and report back.   I've 
> never had a problem with aphids in my irises.  Anyway, I don't think 
> aphids actually EAT plants do they?  Bill Shear are you out there?

No, aphids do not eat, i.e., chew on plants, but they do suck the juices
from plants and thereby weaken them, and can transmit diseases in the

I took advantage of the mild weather yesterday afternoon to perform some
late fall cleanup chores in my iris beds and was dismayed to find heavy
infestations of aphids on some of the clumps. As I proceeded through the
bed it seemed that the aphids were preferentially seeking out the cultivars
with purple based foliage (pbf). The pbf cultivars are scattered randomly
throughout the bed, but of 11 pbf cultivars 7 were infested with aphids
while out of 63 non-pbf cultivars only two had aphids, and both of these
were growing next to pbf varieties. Is it possible that, at least at this
time of year, the aphids are attracted to the purple foliage?

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 2)

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