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 Richiegirl » Aug 13, 2004 5:23 pm

Chris,
Re: your list of virused hostas in the new first note in this subject ... Is Break Dance, as pictured in the HL, always virused? I realize that the others in your list appear to have been mechanically contaminated, but I wondered if Break Dance was virused when it was instroduced. The photo in the HL would lead one to believe that. ???

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Postby Chris_W » Aug 13, 2004 5:50 pm

Based on the look of Breakdance it would be my belief that it has always been virused. A recent test by Dr. Lockhart came back positive for HVX in Breakdance.

There was discussion about Breakdance on the forum a while back and the conclusion that I read into the discussion was that Breakdance was "field tested" in gardens for years and never passed the virus to other plants. From the discussion it never really sounded like it had actually been submitted for a virus test to someone like Dr. Lockhart, and I always heard its testing referred to in the 3rd or 4th person.
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Postby hostanquilts » Aug 13, 2004 10:54 pm

I was over in Bloomington, IN today & stopped at the Growing Grounds to buy a few companion plants. As I was leaving, I passed a table with some hosta on it & then did a double take - there was Gold Standard, light colored with the dark green along the veins. I pointed it out to the young lady working there & she said that the virus was splotchy & these weren't. I told her that I belonged to a hosta forum & had seen pictures of it & that those hosta looked like it. I told her to go to the Hosta Library & take a good look at them. When I got home I found their web site & emailed a link to the HL & the virus pictures. Just wanted to give a heads up to others who might be shopping in Bloomington.
Now questions - does this virus affect Polumnaria, Coral bells & asteilbe?? If so, I think I might take them back tomorrow.
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 15, 2004 12:55 pm

I haven't heard any reports of the virus being in other plants. And remember, the virus will not spread just by contact and won't spread to other plants just by growing near them.
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Postby lazygardner » Aug 17, 2004 4:10 am

I don't believe that I have any infected plants, but I was wondering: if an infected plant is dug up and it is assumed that some pieces of roots are left behind, how long should a person wait to plant in that area again? Would a full year be long enough for the virus to die without the whole host plant? I was just looking at the hosta library pics and reading their info and it got me thinking. Does the virus always change the appearance closest to the veins? Is that one way to tell the difference between an infected Revolution and a healthy Revolution? Also, doesn't the virus cause more of a bluish green discoloration than the natural green of Revolution? Does the virus always cause puckering in matured plants, like in the last Hosta Library pic? Honest, I am just trying to learn. Just be glad I haven't started asking more questions about nematodes!!! :lol:
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Postby wishiwere » Aug 17, 2004 6:55 am

You and me both. Ever time I look at my stripper, I think it looks ill, then someone tells me no, they think it's just natural. Heck, it's hard to worry about all these kids and their little lives :(
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Postby lazygardner » Aug 17, 2004 8:30 pm

I took a closer look at all my hostas this morning and the ones that havent' been decimated by slugs, still look pretty healthy. I do have a gold standard that has some seeping of the green from the margins into the veins, but it doesn't look abnormal and the green is definitely green, not blue-green. tHe leaves are smooth and not puckered at all. HOpefully this is normal.

Now, off to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 19, 2004 9:37 am

After some emails back and forth with Clarence Falstad, who contacted Dr. Lockhart, here is the scoop on cleaning tools between cutting into different plants.

Acceptable ways to clean tools are rubbing alcohol, 10% bleach solution (freshly made), or ammonia. You can sterilize tools after each plant or batch of the same plant. The idea is to neutralize the sap from the previous cut, not to completely kill the virus. I haven't heard a time period for the sterilization, but having a fresh bucket of bleach water and a couple different cutters handy so that one can be soaking while the other is being used might be helpful. With alcohol you could spray your tools until saturated and then wipe clean with a towel to remove the sap, or wait until the alcohol has evaporated. I haven't tried the ammonia, but I would imagine it would be similar to dipping in bleach.

Since we are getting a lot of questions about the virus I am going to put together a web page with frequently asked questions about it. I'll go through here and get some of those questions and let you all know when it is posted.
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Postby Robin » Aug 19, 2004 8:37 pm

Anyone have a general idea of the turn around time for testing?

While a ton of my plants went crazy this year, I did send off a couple of samples... The so called King Tut being one of them.
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Postby Richiegirl » Aug 20, 2004 12:20 pm

They're probably a lot busier this year, but last year I got the results on my single sample in about 10 days. They test at the end of the week, and results are sent in a letter.

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Postby Chris_W » Aug 20, 2004 2:24 pm

I've had results in as little as a few days to a week, he just emails me his findings. The last batch was mailed on Tuesday and I will probably hear from him next Monday or Tuesday.

I've heard a second report of Night Before Christmas having Hosta Virus X. This time on a plant that was started in 2002 at another nursery, but not from a Dutch source. I have NBC included in my latest batch of tests. If anyone else is sending off samples you might want to throw in a leaf from this one. It would especially be interesting to get results on Night Before Christmas plants that are known to be older than 2002. This could be one of the carrier plants of HVX, since they are still growing great and do not show any ill effects of the virus.
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Postby Tundra_Queen » Aug 20, 2004 4:14 pm

Chris,
Do u mean that ALL NBC have a virus since they have been discovered/bred?

Debbie


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Postby Trudy » Aug 20, 2004 4:24 pm

I sent in a leaf on NBC a few weeks ago, and it did not show in the test to have a virus. This hosta had lots of molting and ridges, I was so sure that it had a virus.
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 20, 2004 5:19 pm

Tundra_Queen wrote:Chris,
Do u mean that ALL NBC have a virus since they have been discovered/bred?

Debbie


No, I didn't think that was the case. We've simply found 2 plants from 2 sources that were acquired in 2002 that had the virus. I was wondering if people had plants older than that tested to see how far back these may have been sold with the virus. If a plant like NBC did get infected there might not be a way to know since they don't seem to show any signs of having it.

Thanks for the info Trudy. How long have you had your Night Before Christmas? And do you know where it originated? (Sometimes the grower will have a distinct tag with the plant).
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Postby Richiegirl » Aug 21, 2004 10:57 am

Chris,

I think my NBC was acquired from you last year. I'll wait until you get results on your NBC sample to see whether or not mine needs to be tested. It looks perfect right now and is growing well ... isolated from other hostas as it turns out, because I planted it on our condominium grounds among other non-hosta plants and shrubs.

What worries me is that we are now getting reports of hostas that look and act perfect, but are harboring the virus! We need a "watch" list of those. Besides NBC, what other hostas should be on that list?

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Postby janet » Aug 21, 2004 12:45 pm

Okay, I think I'm done buying and/or trading hosta for the next several years. This whole virus mess reminds me of what happens when a particular breed of dog becomes wildly popular...they are bred into unsoundness by puppy mills and breeders that just want to make a buck.

I don't blame retailers like Chris, that are keeping their customers informed, but not all are doing that (big box stores and hosta specialists included). I certainly do blame the wholesalers, worldwide. The testing will not remain free of charge and I suspect the prices of hosta will rise when retailers have to have new shipments tested so they can claim their stock is "certified virus free" in order to sell it.

I'll enjoy what I have, toss any that may develop signs of disease, cautiously divide them when desired or necessary, and wait it out. I will not rush out to get everything tested (including my 5 year old NBC), dump plants that do not look ill, or worry myself sick over the health of my hosta. Life's too short as it is.
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Postby mooie » Aug 21, 2004 1:33 pm

Chris I want you to take a look see at these two plants, if you wouldn't mind. One is Paradise Joyce, purchased last year and the other is St. Paul purchased this spring. Paradise Joyce has never looked like it's supposed to imho, and now has sort of a mottled appearance. St. Paul is new and I can only find one pic on the hostalibrary site. I don't know if this mottling on the 11oclock leaf and the 1oclock leaf and the 6oclock leaf is normal for this plant. Whaddyou think?
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 21, 2004 1:55 pm

Janet,

I know exactly how you feel, and I think there are a lot of others that feel the same way. I'm hoping that it is not a matter of years to get this straightened out here, but some wholesalers and MANY retailers are not taking it seriously and some are not taking ownership of the problem. It's almost like we have to start over with a clean slate on some plants and even give up on a few for a while. El Nino was one of the best new intros in a while and that one just makes me sick. So instead we are starting over with First Frost for 2006 :(

Mooie, It is really hard to tell from your pictures, but for what it is worth, Paradise Joyce takes time for the center to lighten, and even the virused plants seem to lighten up but then turned dark along the veins later. If you plant never lightened it could just be a poor example of Paradise Joyce. St. Paul is a sport of Paul's Glory so it can show some unusual color changes on its own that are natural. I had Paul's Glory tested because of those color changes and they came back negative. I don't think that is a virus causing those color changes, but keep an eye on it. If it gets worse get it tested.

Hang in there everyone!

Chris
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Postby Chris_W » Aug 21, 2004 2:17 pm

And this might help a little, the following plants have tested negative here at the nursery for any virus:

American Halo
Paul's Glory
Stiletto from our own plant stock
Moonlight
Bottom Line
Ventricosa Aureomarginata
Fortunei Albopicta
Guardian Angel
A whole new batch of Striptease
Pineapple Upsidedown Cake
Island Charm
Lakeside Shoremaster
Captain Kirk

We are getting more and more tested all the time so I'll keep you all posted.
Last edited by Chris_W on May 14, 2005 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mooie » Aug 21, 2004 8:36 pm

Thanks Chris for your answer. :D I wasn't like 'way' worried about them but thought I should maybe get someone else to take a peek see at them. :o

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