Lowe's response to my pointing out suspected HVX to them...

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HVX Hosta

Postby DryGulch » Apr 22, 2005 11:20 am

This HVX thing has me really concerned. My mother and I were out shoping nurseries and I told her not to touch any hosta. We walked into this one private nursery and there was a Blue Angel (I think?) from "Best Selects" (? not sure now either) and it looked peculiar.

If this nursery buys roots and pots them up could they spread the virus if unaware to the soil inother perennial plants pots and could you bring it into your garden that way?

I hate the implications of this whole HVX thing...I am not knowledgeable enough about this virus to ID it. If the soil transmission is possible you don't dare buy any plant from a nursery you would suspect of possibly having a HVX plant somewhere in its supply line, right?

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HVX Hosta



Postby Chris_W » Apr 22, 2005 11:45 am

HVX doesn't spread in the soil as a virus can only live in tissue, not in soil.

The issue of HVX being spread in Holland can arise from 2 methods: 1) cutting and dividing plants in the field. Almost everything is field grown and they almost always are cut when harvested. So I would think this is the initial way that the virus is spread 2) it is speculated and I believe it is possible to spread them by power washing and reusing the water.

The USDA has inspectors out in the fields in Holland but since the virus can take at least a season to show the signs it just might not be noticable until the plants are shipped out and then begin to grow the next season. It has traditionally only been done as a visual inspection. Only now are they starting to do more field testing from what I've heard.

The plants showing up in Lowe's and Home Depot should have been inspected by the growers before they were shipped, in my opinion. The growers are given certification as growers by the USDA and there is some expectation on their part to notice problems like this. Why nobody noticed those horrific plants going out is just beyond me. They were fully leafed out and loaded on a truck looking like that :roll:

But there still seems to be this aura of disbelief in these letters and grower responses. I think just about anyone familiar with the virus can look at the plants on the shelf and confirm 100% that those plants are virused, yet they still send out samples to be tested. When will people just stop and think about it. That's not what hostas are supposed to look like! This is not right, this is bad, throw them away!

Plant viruses have been around forever. Ever since I started in the growing business I've seen virused plants from time to time. You see a plant here or there come up with strange looking leaves, bad looking flowers, or maybe it just isn't growing very good so you pitch it. End of story. You don't send it out for a test. Maybe once in a while you are wrong but why would you want something like that around anyway? Whoever invented the markdown plant table for things like that should have been fired...

Last summer I was sending out HEALTHY looking leaves for testing, or leaves that I just couldn't tell for sure visually and needed a second opinion. A couple of those second opinions came back negative for virus so I watched the plants and sure enough they looked fine later. But when we see plants as bad as the ones at Lowe's or Home Depot like Royal Standard, Blue Cadet, So Sweet, Birchwood Parky's Gold, or the so called 'Sugar and Cream' there isn't a question of "Is it virused or what virus is it?". It is a question of how fast can I get them to the dumpster...
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Postby whamadiddle » Apr 22, 2005 8:12 pm

here is the latest after i replied that i was not so keen on a form letter to all of us:

Thank you for your comments. I apologize that you were disappointed in my reply. Lowe's wanted to make sure that all of our customers who have inquired about Hosta Virus X knew that we are addressing the issue and that we take your inquires seriously. We will advise you of the outcome as soon as we received the test results. If I can assist you further at this time, please let me know.

Lowe's Customer Care

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Postby doublemom2 » Apr 23, 2005 10:24 pm

Even the retail nurseries around here don't have a clue about HVX. Two years ago I saw obviously virused Birchwood Parky's Gold at two different, and rather upscale nurseries. I asked to speak to the manager at both, and told both that I grow a lot of hostas and am very familiar with the plants, and that they had some out on the shelves that really looked virused.

One of the nursery managers had a copy of The Genus Hosta and we looked it up together. She said thank you very very much and the plants were immediately pulled off the shelf and thrown away. They were very appreciative of my telling them what I knew, and I've never seen another bad looking hosta there.

The other nursery flatly told me that I didn't know what I was talking about, that there WERE some hostas that were supposed to look like that (mind you, these were clearly labeled as BPG's), and that everything was perfectly fine. I tried to get them to look up a picture of a healthy BPG to see what it looked like, and they walked away to help another customer. Needless to say, I have never been back to that nursery, and I tell every local person I know about my issue with them. Hummmmph!

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