your virus precautions?

linaria_gwAugust 21, 2013

Hi there,
after a longer break I got a bunch of new nice cultivars, bulbs from 2 growers and some just bought at garden centers.
Now I realize that some show slight signs of virus like funny mottling and one is really stunted.

That stunted one I need to dig up and put into the trash.

But with the others I wondered:
when cutting flowers do you clean/disinfect your tools?

And how exactly?

With Hostas and HVX I read the advice against spreading it when gardening.

So, does it apply to Dahlias as well?

And what is your way to keep it feasible/ do-able?

First I figured I could cut using a pair of pruning shears and work on the virused looking one last.

But today I discovered that apart from 3 obvious cases, at least three more are showing mild symptoms, bugger.

So it looks like I should definitely try to minimize the risk of infecting my good plants using the same tool on all of them.
Thanks for any ideas,

bye, Lin

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Many dahlias are resistant to viruses of different types. They may display very mild symptoms but grow just fine. Other varieties are stunted terribly by the same virus. When a variety has a virus and it displays no symptoms, the insects can spread that virus to virus susceptible plants. They call the the virus spreading things "vectors". The act of cutting flowers is not generally listed as a virus vector. Humans are infected with very many viruses that give us no symptoms. So are plants.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:56AM
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I have a virused plant whose leaves are crinkled and splotched, and extra Magnesium and foliar fertilizer did not improve its condition. I wanted to see it bloom before digging and tossing the plant.

Are you saying, Ted, that sterilizing tools or even tossing the plant is useless since the virus has already had the opportunity to be spread by bugs? Kind of like sending a kid to his room after sneezing on the uncarved Thanksgiving turkey won't keep family from getting sick, perhaps.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Many people equate dahlia virus with the Black Plague. They think that once it starts all your plants will be infected and die within a few days. In reality it spreads rather slowly and most of your plants already have one or more viruses and show few or no symptoms. Any plant that is seriously stunted or has an extreme case of blotchy foliage should be tossed as it susceptible to that virus. You can try the Magnesium or extra fertilizer but if it is really stunted it probably will not work.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Hello Ted, thanks for your answer, I am really reliefed that cutting flowers is not a vector. And fingers crossed I didn't have any black flies/ aphids this season. So I will get some epsom salt or something similar and just keep the nice flowering ones that keep going.
Well, thanks again, bye, Lin

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:27AM
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