Monday, August 19, 2013

Hosta Care Reminders

Monday, August 19, 2013

A quiet morning here on the mountain. Another light rain storm passed through during the night but now it is clear, 50.2° and windless. The critters of the woods are out and about now, probably including the bear cub I saw yesterday afternoon.  Folks are heading to work from the pond and I can hear a log truck coming down from Rt 232. Karl the Wonder Dog is sleeping longer than usual and allowing me to write without interruption.

Hostas have always been the number one selling perennial which is a surprise to many. Hosta collectors have the American Hosta Society for guidance and the Hosta Library for reference. But as I meet and sell hostas to customers, I ask what people know about hosta virus and there is little response. The Hosta Library has some good info and pictures about the virus that is important to understand. The most recent on-line newsletter from the society mentions the progress being made to understand the virus. Vice President Rob Mortko had this to report:

"HVX Research Update
We are concluding our two year study at the
University of Minnesota with Dr. Ben Lockhart. The
final study report will be posted later this year. In
the meantime, we have confirmed the transmission
of HVX from virus-infected plant debris remaining
in a planting site. The infection process is slow and
it wasn’t until the second year after planting a clean
hosta in the same location that the virus was
observed and confirmed with a positive test. Please
DO NOT plant another hosta in the same location
after removing an HVX infected hosta."
This time of year in many parts of the hosta growing world, people are beginning their fall clean up. They might very well be spreading hosta virus to uninfected plants during very routine clean up. Some people mention that they weed whack all their hostas down and then rake the leaves and scapes up for disposal. This method is sure to spread disease.  Replanting a new hosta in the hole where an infected hosta was removed is sure to spread the virus too. I am mentioning this as the last thing you want to do is ruin your collection while trying to keep a good looking garden.

One more cup of coffee for me and I am out the door. I am cleaning up one of the daylily fields which means weeding, digging, dividing and then lining out daylilies that we will need in greater supply for next year. Stop by the flower farm and say hi!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Facebook as George Africa and also as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens--lots of images!
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!

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