Moral Dilemma, found hosta virus

Cindi McMurrayMarch 22, 2006

Ok, what would you do? I visited 2 locally-owned nurseries in my area yesterday and found definite signs of hosta virus x on several hostas in each store. Visited a third family-owned nursery 90 miles away from me with THOUSANDS of hostas with absolutely NO signs of virus. They do buy from different suppliers.

The first 2 nurseries are smaller, but are owned by people who really really should know what this virus looks like, and really should know better than to sell virused plants. I took one plant up to the register in the first store and told 2 people working there that they need to contact their supplier and get rid of these plants. Tried to warn them in a friendly manner that the state would make them destroy all their hostas if they were inspected. Tried to tell them which hostas are more susceptible, and where to go online to see photos and get info. They acted like they didn't quite believe me, but said they would tell the owner. Plot thickens...I know the owner and really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but also am a little shocked that they kept these plants!

At the second nursery, I didn't point them out.

Last thing I want is this virus to spread further. I also know it's a small world and I try to maintain a good relationship with the nurseries I do business with.

What would you do? Call the state? Call extension agent? Re-visit the nursery to emphasize what I know? Post their names? Forget it?

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clfo(z7 with luck)

Ask an extension agent to stop by and check - they will take it from there.

I found daylily rust in my own garden center once - I called the extension agent who came and took samples. They were cultured to be sure, and we had to throw out all infected plants, remove all our daylilies from display, cut them back, spray with fungicide, and grow them away from public display while we waited to see if any others were infected. My boss wasn't too happy, but we had to do what was right.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 4:57PM
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buckeye15(No OH)

Some extension agents are probably qualified, but the regulatory agency who can order those plants off sale would be your state dept. of agriculture. If you call them, they could send out an inspector who would then issue a stop sale order or seizure. Once the nursery owner has that piece of paper, they can go back to their supplier, and get their money back. Some nursery owners are proactive and would do this on their own, but may be so busy they haven't noticed the issue. Others may notice it and only see potential lost sales and leave them out there. In other words, you can't trust the owner to take care of it. The KS dept of ag. number to call is: 785-862-2180. I would also study the tags/pots of the guilty suppliers, and not buy any more of their plants. If you can identify the grower, you can report them too, or fire off a letter to them.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 5:00AM
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Cindi McMurray

Many thanks to you both.
A few years ago we received a shipment of daylilies which obviously had rust, so we rejected the order. With hostas, I feel for these nurseries because they order roots or liners and don't see the virus right away, if ever before they sell. This is the busy time of year, and the hostas have just leafed out in the past 2 weeks. I did contact the plant pathologists who inspect and asked them if they had sent fliers around since it sounds like nurseries are "unaware" of the hosta virus. I think they will take it from here. The state did a great job publicizing pine wilt, gypsy moths, asian longhorned beetles and daylily rust, so maybe they can step up enforcement on hosta virus.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 9:36AM
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