What would you do ?

roblksdMay 20, 2012

I brought this up in a previous thread and no one commented. What would you do if you saw an HVX plant at one of your farvorite nurseries. Would you post it here ? Would you keep it between you and the owner? Would you stop shopping there. I think this is an important topic. It is my opinion that no one is safe from HVX and that even a responsible business owner can be a victim also.Rob

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I thought about it when you asked before, Rob. I realize that my impulse would be to say something to the owner. There is now only one main nursery here that I deal with because I can talk to the family that own it. So I'd tell them.

Right now it is a moot question, because they do not sell hosta. If I saw any hosta among their plants, I'd be sure they know about HVX issues. Sooner or later, some sales rep will come calling, and they might make them a deal too good to refuse. So I'll be bringing up the subject well in advance of that, hoping the caution will stay in the back of the mind anyway.

I'd have to think about it again before I "went public" with it though. If they are really the people I think they are, they will take steps to stop the problem and deal with it properly. Otherwise, I'd have to rethink my relationship with them, and then follow my conscience.

It is my belief that (if global warming doesn't accelerate too much) the deep south is a new and unsuspecting market that has no previous exposure to hosta or hosta problems. So we are all unsuspecting gardeners, likely to be fooled at least once. I've always operated on the premise
" Fool me once
Shame on YOU.
Fool me twice,
There will not be a second chance.

Oh yeah. A side note here. I did the HVX test on my two Lowes suspects (Winter Snow & Blue Angel) and they tested negative for HVX. But it put such a fear in my heart that I will NOT EVER buy or even touch a hosta from Lowes. Also, I will not be taking any "friendship" splits from my sweet little gardening neighbors who have a couple of plants which came from Lowes and Home Depot. The risk is too great, and I do not want to lose sleep over it again.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Rob - the subject has been argued here on Hosta Forum so often and thoroughly that response will be quite redundant. So instead of doing it all over again, I suggest you use the prompt at the bottom of the page to scan the umpteen pages of posts for the subject.

As far as reporting it publically, as you can see from the number of inquiries about HVX on this forum that are weather or sun related, there is a lot of paranoia about it.

Would you consider this Olive Bailey Langdon possibly virused? It definitely is in a lot of hurt. The problem?
Squirrels! They love to climb up on my Grecian Urn and then jump down trying to land on my OBL and PUDC hostas. Those holes are from sharp toenails.

I would recommend making a pronounced effort to talk to management, and will most often open the conversation with a question. You might be surprised that he or she knows more about HVX than you do. But too often that is not true.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:05PM
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I spent the day at Michigan State University gardens at Hidden Lake in Tipton MIchigan. It is home to the Hosta Hillside and the Benedict garden. I would recommend everyone put it on your list to visit. It is a great place to spend a day, picnic, relax and see some amazing collections of perennials, trees, conifers and hosta. I was helping the Michigan Hosta Society do some weeding and donated 17 different Lakeside plants to start a Lakeside garden there. I met some great hosta people. I take that back I met some great people. Everyone in Michigan should join the MHS. They have some great events and are doing great work to help promote hosta. Only $10 dollars for 2-years. Much of this goes to help maintain Hosta Hillside a true treasue. They tested every plant for HVX before planting and I am happy to say NO HVX. I am glad your plants came up negative also! Rob

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Hi Les, I am just trying to follow up on some comments without being percieved as angry or offensive. I do understand the paranoia and if anything I am trying to show a perspective that it is better to approach it with common sense and be rational about it. I grow Laella the sister plant to Cynthia that has that mottled look in the spring. Dr Lockhart and many others have tested it and no HVX. I was going to put its picture on here and ask the question HVX ? But decided against it. I have seen thousands maybe millions of hosta and fortunately have only seen a handful of infected plants. My personal experience is that it is rare. Rob

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Great question Rob. If it was me, I would contact the management first and go from there.

Bruce and I are like you, we have seen millions of hostas and have not seen that many with HVX.
Most of the ones we have seen have been in public parks or aboretums where workers maybe a not educated or careful on using tools.

So many folks are thinking the frost damage is HVX this year. But new folks that are into hostas are at least being cautious and asking about it, which is a good thing!

Hosta Hillside is a beautiful garden, we visited when the National Hosta convention was in in that area. Nice to know how proactive the Michigan club is on the HVX.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Well, I search local nurseries and BB stores for virused Hostas. When I find it I try to contact the manager. In most cases they have no idea what HVX is or how it spreads. I try to educate them about the importance of using trusted growers.

Last week I went to a reputable nursery close by. It was voted "Best Local Nursery" by the local newspaper several years in a row. I pointed out the virused Honeybells and tried to find out where it is coming from. This is the second time I've seen virused Hosta in this nursery. I think they have it in their soil and are spreading it among plants they are growing locally. I posted the first incident on Dave's Garden Watchdog and I will post about the second incident.

I've posted on the DGW site about several local nurseries in which I've found diseased plants. I take pictures and keep them and date them. Frankly, I'm running out of local places where I feel comfortable buying plants. It's a problem.

What I really want to do it to go after the growers who supply these plants to mostly unknowing nursery owners. They should and do know better. That's why I was so pleased that Deanna outed Greenleaf a few weeks ago. Greenleaf protested that they got their TCs from "trusted" Dutch suppliers. Of course, we all know that Holland is a main source of diseased Hosta.

If we can call these people out and inform local nurseries that they are supplying them with diseased plants then maybe we can make a dent in their bottom line and they will begin to buy their TCs not from the cheapest source, but from the safest sources like Walters, Q&Z and Bentley.

This is proving not as easy to do as I would like. However, I am damned angry that some people in the "green" industry have made an economic decision that it is OK to sell us a certain percentage of diseased Hosta. And that that will not hurt their bottom line. I consider this to be a form of pure evil to knowingly sell damaged products that will spread disease in our gardens, and I'm determined to make they pay for it.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Rob, I am glad you opened this thread. I was being a bit tentative and didn't come across well. I hope you didn't feel I was putting you down.

If I were to totally lay out my approach it would virtually mirror Steve's. I have openly made my position known on a number of occasions in my previous posts. But that is neither here nor there.

I firmly believe we, the hobbyists who end up with the tainted product, need to put pressure on whoever is in the chain providing us the virused plants. Because we have most contact with the retailers who sell plants to us, that would be the most logical place to start. As Steve said, and I did also in my initial response, too many retailers have no clue-and they need to be educated. I don't want them to have to eat their whole stock of hostas because they are subject to HVX. I want them to not buy HVX infected plants they may have to eat. One retailer proudly told me he didn't worry about HVX because he never buys from foreign sources. Yet I swore he had virised hostas on his sales displays. My favorite local nursery has only 1/4th the hostas as previous years. I'd just bought two beautiful hostas from him and have pics in another post. Is this because HVX scare is hurting his hosta sales? I don't know. This year I haven't been able to visit with him personally because of my health problems. When I can, you can be certain I will.

At the same time, I don't think we want to drive reputably and responsibly run businesses to the brink of collapse by making untrue allegations about their respectability. Where would many of our good quality stock come from without them? Moccasin just said her fave nursery doesn't carry hostas, but that is because she is WAY DOWN SOUTH in Alabama. What if we way up here couldn't find them either?

I better "stop myself" before I get myself in trouble.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I saw an obviously diseased hosta at a nursery this weekend. There WAS a hosta I wanted from there, but I didn't feel confident buying it because of the potential for infection from the hvx one. I never said anything to the workers there.

I often chat with people as they are shopping for hostas and educate them about this virus...most people are still not aware of it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:58AM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

This is what I've done three times:

1) Take a picture of the hosta with my cell phone.
2) Give the plant to the person in charge and tell them about HVX.
3) Send an email to a contact person I have with the Michigan Department of Agriculture with a picture of the infected hosta. He tells me that he will send an inspector to the nursery.

I have printed out a flyer about HVX that I want to give to the PIC, but it never seems to be in the car I'm driving.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 1:11AM
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Should clarify on here that I would talk to the person who sold the hosta to me...... and dont buy from a BOX store!

Should of also mentioned that I cant believe how many folks are stilling buying hostas at BOX stores probably the #1 place that is still selling virused hostas!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:15AM
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I have heard of HVX and other problems at almost every grower that would shock some people. I do not mention their names because they have always handled the problem to the best of their ability regardless of the financial cost.I think it is important to keep an open mind and show some understanding.It is a very good thing for everyone to speak up when they see a problem. I like Gesila's answer. It is educational and potentially has some enforcement behind it. Les, you and I are good. I seldom take offense to anything. I appreciate everyones comment and I have learned alot. Thanks, Rob

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 4:31PM
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