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Re: Nematode free: Fact or Hoax?

Mary Chastain wrote:
 far as I am concerned I would rather have fewer plants and less infection. 

Whoa!!!!!!  Mary! Are you really telling these nice people that they would be better off with fewer hostas?????   NO, NO, NO.  You would be better off with many more hostas.  Lots and lots of hostas!

Whew, let me catch my breath.

Some thoughts about nematodes...

Foliar nematodes are a pest of hostas.  We have to accept that.  They are also a pest of ferns, anemones, chrysanthemum and related species, and many other garden perennials.  All of these plants also have many other pests.  In general, I cannot see any evidence that nematodes do enough damage to justify the panic that has surrounded them for the past couple years.  How many hostas have been killed by nematodes as opposed to voles, deer, crown rot, etc, etc, etc.  Yet we see people threatening to burn all their hostas if they discover nematodes in their garden.

Yes, they do disfigure the leaves in the fall, and yes there does not seem to be any practical way to completely eliminate them from the garden.  We also can't eliminate slugs, deer, hailstorms, late freezes, and any number of other things that can damage a plant, so why is it that the word nematode strikes fear in the hearts of men, oops, hosta persons?

Ever since people started burning their gardens, I have suspected that there was probably a reasonable way to control these things.  The problem is that with EPA regulations, insectacides can only be labeled (recommended) for specific pests, and only after extensive and expensive testing.  I always wondered if systemic insecticides like Orthene and others wouldn't also have some effect on nematodes.  Well, come to find out in the last Hosta Journal, it's even better than that.  There are lots of things that kill nematodes, including such innoucuous sprays as insecticidal soap and ZeroTol, through such middle of the road insecticides as diazanon and orthene, and for nurseries, the really toxic stuff that is even more effective.  Some of these less toxic sprays killed only 60-80% of the nematodes, but I assume that was with one treatment.  In my opinion, if you can kill 60-80% of a pest with a single treatment of a non-toxic spray, you don't have a problem.  Yes, you will still have nematodes.  Maybe you can train your slugs to eat them.

I have to admit that we don't know everything yet, but so far, I just don't see why everyone is in such a state.

It's like the guy on tv said about the anthrax panic, it may be the only epidemic in history where only one person died.


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