Hosta Virus X epidemic

Discuss Hosta Virus X and share pictures and information on this ever increasing threat to hosta growing.

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Postby Chris_W » Aug 11, 2004 9:41 am

It seems that El Nino was infected at harvest time in Holland, presumably last fall, and isn't showing signs yet. I'm not sure what it will look like once it has it...

We also received El Nino last year and those plants look fantastic still, so I'm going to have them tested.

The Dutch growers are now taking this very seriously. Scared would be an understatement. And the government agencies in Holland are taking it very seriously finally.

I actually received a nice "thank you" from one grower for alerting them to the problem.

I'll know more about El Nino later next week and then go from there, and there will be more plants tested that came from the Dutch.
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Postby wishiwere » Aug 11, 2004 9:48 am

Wow! So they are getting on it there, but what about here? DIdn't you say some of the growers here had major problems too? Have you heard anything about them? Seems maybe a list of 'growers' to avoid would be helpful!!! I for one would be asking where the plants came from before I buy more :( Sad, but true..........it's probably my only saving grace to this addiction!

Thanks Chris for sharing all this info you find out! SUrely helps! :)
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Postby Homer_Zn5 » Aug 11, 2004 9:55 am

Chris_W wrote:New info. Clarence Falstad from Walters Gardens informed me that alcohol may not kill the virus. He said that it only kills by dehydrating, but a virus does not actually contain moisture. He said heat is the only way to kill and that temps need to be 60 to 90 degrees C to do the trick. He suggests alternating tools to divide and heat the blade with a butane torch between batches of plants :o Since ammonia also kills by dehydrating that might not work either. If bleach works by oxidizing then it might be a better solution. I'll try to confirm that.



Chris,

It is true that viruses are just DNA or RNA wrapped in a protein and are not susceptible to dehydration. However, ammonia and alcohol do not simply operate by dehydration. Ammonia in particular can denature proteins and DNA, and may still be effective even though viruses are not affected by the hygroscopic nature of the solution. Alcohol's hydrogen bonds probably aren't enough to denature protein encasing a virus, but will unzip DNA that is exposed.

I think the best bet would be to use a bleach solution--it will not just denature, but obliterate proteins and DNA. I know that is severely caustic to tools, but it is probably less work to oil and scrub your tools after a day of gardening than to deal with a butane torch and possibly ruin the temper on your blade.

Just my $.02
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 11, 2004 10:06 am

Thanks Homer. We will switch to the bleach, and make fresh solution every day. And keep a bucket with bleached tools in it and switch tools between batches.

I am glad that the growers are taking us seriously now.
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Postby dmshostalover » Aug 11, 2004 10:09 am

Boy, Chris, what a year! :eek: :eek: :eek: I'm so grateful you keep us informed, I don't know what we would do otherwise! I got an El Nino from Ebay last year, but it looks fine, will keep an eye on it.
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Postby Richiegirl » Aug 11, 2004 10:18 am

Please explain. What does the bleach do to the tools? After bleaching, do I rinse them off and dry them? Does the bleach work instantly? If so, can't I spray it on the tools, let them kind of drip dry for a minute or two, then hose off and dry? Will they need oiling? I can't imagine that bleach solution would harm a good spade, but ... ??? This is all so new to us, we have to consider what works and is the easiest because if it's too complicated, some will take shortcuts ... just human nature.

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Postby Homer_Zn5 » Aug 11, 2004 11:50 am

Richiegirl wrote:Please explain. What does the bleach do to the tools? After bleaching, do I rinse them off and dry them? Does the bleach work instantly? If so, can't I spray it on the tools, let them kind of drip dry for a minute or two, then hose off and dry? Will they need oiling? I can't imagine that bleach solution would harm a good spade, but ... ??? This is all so new to us, we have to consider what works and is the easiest because if it's too complicated, some will take shortcuts ... just human nature.

Richiegirl


Bleach causes steel to rust--even on a good spade. You don't have to rinse and dry the tools after each soaking, as there will probably be very little bleach left on the blade when you pull it out of the bucket--it shouldn't hurt the plant you are digging up, but you can do that if you want.

You could spray with a bleach solution, but it won't be as effective as a soak, as some of the chlorine will evaporate. I don't know what the recommended strength and time is for HVX, but I'm sure Chris is versed in this.

I typically oil my tools at the end of each season, using steel wool to work in the oil and take off some of the rust. However, using bleach will accelerate the corrosion process, and I would think that a good water rinse, dry, and oiling after each day you use bleach on them would be a good idea. If you are going to be using bleach on successive days for a week, maybe you can get away with treating your tools with oil weekly.
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Postby whitewater176 » Aug 11, 2004 2:04 pm

this scares me , we just bought el nino last week and the tag is a DeVroomen tag. guess we will need to watch it veryyyyyyyyyy closely
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 11, 2004 2:20 pm

Like I said, if you received an El Nino from us this year it could have come from either the new batch or the old batch, and I've only had this year's batch tested so far. I'm going to hold the plants until they show us what the infection looks like, so you will know what to watch for.

One person wrote me today and said her El Nino looks bad so I asked her to get us a picture.

I believe that El Nino was only distributed by DeVroomen and Van Bourgondien.
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Postby mooie » Aug 11, 2004 9:45 pm

I got mine from you this year Chris and am happy to tell you it looks very nice. :D

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Postby Tundra_Queen » Aug 11, 2004 10:14 pm

Chris, I'm so sorry u are having all this virus trouble. It is good news that the growers in Holland are taking it seriously, I hope this thing can be stopped soon and I hope u can get some financial reimbursement!

Do any Canadians know of a place we can send our leaves to be tested for this virus?

Homer, when u say scrub tools, scrub with what kind of oil please? I usually use dw40, but never used a steel wool on them, could I use a SOS pad on them or just steel wool? I will try that to get the rust off. My pruners get very rusty as I always dunk them into bleach after I cut my roses, so I don't tranfer black spot or other disease to my other roses, never thought I'd have to do that for hostas though.

Looks like I'm going to go back to using my bleach mixture instead of the alcohol. I always wondered why my pruners rusted so quickly when I took such good care of them, now I know it's the bleach I have been using for years. I will just put straight bleach in a container and hope I don't drip any on my clothes!

About the heat killing the virus it would have to 140F to 194F. I wonder if you could put a big old pot on the bbq and boil the water and then stick the tools into it, if that would do it. I mean, some people bbq almost every day so it wouldn't be much trouble after doing the food to boil a pot of water and stick the tools in? Just a thought.

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Postby malaprop » Aug 11, 2004 10:56 pm

chris, what do the TC labs say? Do they test their source plant before TCing? The fact that you see it repeatedly in one (or a few) cultivars, makes me think TCing would be more easily the culprit than dividing, which I doubt there's much of that when TCing makes so many.... I'll still dip my clippers in a solution when cutting scapes, but my hunch is an entire batch got it, before marketing. I know that a virus needs a healthy youthful cell to invde.
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Postby leafmould » Aug 11, 2004 11:12 pm

Chris, will this shut down Hollands hosta export ? and do you think other nurseries would still order from them ?
The flower biz is huge in holland :o :eek:
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 12, 2004 2:25 am

malaprop wrote:chris, what do the TC labs say? Do they test their source plant before TCing? The fact that you see it repeatedly in one (or a few) cultivars, makes me think TCing would be more easily the culprit than dividing, which I doubt there's much of that when TCing makes so many.... I'll still dip my clippers in a solution when cutting scapes, but my hunch is an entire batch got it, before marketing. I know that a virus needs a healthy youthful cell to invde.


Hi Linda,

I received a batch of Striptease from Q & Z last week that looked a lot like the virused plants, minus any spots or splotches along the veins. But other coloration looked a lot like my virused plants. These originated in TC and I was really worried about it, not sure if it was just normal Striptease coloration or HVX. Tests on multiple plants came back negative for the virus.

I agree, if a virused plant is tissue cultured it would most likely be passed on.

A lot of time plants will show normal coloration changes that look like a virus, such as on Gold Standard, Moonlight, and apparently Striptease, which might be why the virus was missed on some of these plants entering the supply chain. We've grown Moonlight here for years and sometimes the color change looks odd but they've tested negative for a virus so we have virus free stock on that one. And now that we have some virus free stock of Striptease (and a source for it) I hope we can continue to cultivate from those instead of risking getting something in that might have it...

For us the TC supply is not as big of a concern. If we do get a plant in from TC it is grown here over 2 seasons, so if there is a problem we will have plenty of time to see it.
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 12, 2004 2:33 am

leafmould wrote:Chris, will this shut down Hollands hosta export ? and do you think other nurseries would still order from them ?
The flower biz is huge in holland :o :eek:


From my last conversation it sounds like they have isolated the particular grower where the majority of the virused plants originated. From the very low concentrations of the virus in the plants we received like El Nino, Paradise Joyce, and even Striptease it appears as if the virus was passed on at harvest. But that also means the plants that were cut and still in the field would have it.

The goal is to now test ALL of the plant stock in Holland so that they can certify plants as virus free.

We will also isolate all new incoming plants and have them tested for virus before adding them to our catalog so that we can also sell them as virus free.
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Postby janet » Aug 12, 2004 7:14 am

If your older shipment of El Nino proves to be virus free, do you know who got which or do we just have to wait and see what our plants look like over time? I thought sometimes a virused plant could never show signs. Also, I received Paradise Joyce as a bonus with my El Nino. I should just trash that one now? They both look just terrific. So sad. :( Thank you so much for keeping us all informed...wish the other places I ordered from would do the same. :???:
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Postby Homer_Zn5 » Aug 12, 2004 7:15 am

Tundra_Queen wrote:
Homer, when u say scrub tools, scrub with what kind of oil please? I usually use dw40, but never used a steel wool on them, could I use a SOS pad on them or just steel wool? I will try that to get the rust off. My pruners get very rusty as I always dunk them into bleach after I cut my roses, so I don't tranfer black spot or other disease to my other roses, never thought I'd have to do that for hostas though.

Debbie


Debbie,

An SOS pad would work, but I think they contain a soap in them. Steel wool is very cheap at the hardware store. As for oil . . . any oil should do. I tend to use motor oil, as it is heavier weight and less likely to drip off. WD-40 works for cleaning, but the motor oil is more likely to stay as a protectant over the winter--and it's cheaper. The steel wool just literally scrubs off the layer of rust (I'm not super picky about getting it all off . . . tools work even with a light coat of rust) and helps the oil penetrate a bit better.
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Postby wishiwere » Aug 12, 2004 7:34 am

I use one of those 5 gallon buckets with sand 3/4 full in it, then pour oil into that to park my tools in when not in use during the week. The sand works okay to get off light starts of rust, but steel wool pad at Home depot are fairly cheap in bulk too. I think here they keep them next to the paint? It works good to keep them oil. Can't park the clippers there, but the shovel and hand tools can. Then just have a rag hanging that I use to wipe them off before use.

If you use a bucket of bleach like that, how long would it be good I wonder? I mean, they say once you mix it with H20, it's only good for 24 hours, does that hold true if you don't mix it?
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Postby Homer_Zn5 » Aug 12, 2004 4:35 pm

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with an oiled tool fetish. I like the sand idea . . . nicely done--I just worry about what to do with the dirty sand, and I just know I'll spill it some day.

As for bleach, the chlorine will dissipate to a fairly low level if left exposed to the atmosphere for 24 hours.
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Postby Tundra_Queen » Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm

Thanks Homer,

I keep my bleach water solution in an old fertilizer jar with the lid on.

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