Insect damage

wildebloem(8 - Oregon)November 5, 2007

Last year, I ordered fourteen violets from Canyon Creek Nursery (Oroville, CA). A number of the plants had curiously rolled leaves. I removed the affected leaves but the problem continued to spread, so I sent an affected leaf to the company, asking how to deal with this. I received no response and two months later, wrote again and asked for guidance. Again my letter was ignored.

I have since found this is likely a type of midge - can anyone please point me to a photograph for positive identification?

Also, I continue to find affected leaves and continue to remove them as I find them, but I would love to find a solution that prevents this damage.

Thank you for any help.

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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Is there any way you could post pictures of your plants' problem? Maybe a picture of the rolled leaves, and then one of what the inside of the rolled portion looks like when it's opened up? That would be most useful... this isn't a problem I'm familiar with; I've actually never seen anything like damage from a midge on violets. Rolled leaves usually indicate the presence of some sort of caterpillar in my experience. Is there anything visible inside when you unroll the leaves, like webbing or frass or a living insect of any kind?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 7:03PM
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etii(France 8)

Hello !

Howdy here ? ;o)
I see what you mean wildebloem, we have that kind of midge in France making and living in rolled leaves. Don't know its name (Denis or Nathalie would) but it's really hell :-/ I don't have any but my mum does.
I'm not too much into chemical things but I would have tried for a long time a general-purpose insecticide. First kill then ask for it is was LOL !

All the best - Thierry.

A pic, sororia albiflora X odorata alba first generation (F1)...I can hardly wait until I see F2 :o)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 4:26AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

I searched the forum for "midge" and found a response to an earlier problem that sounds quite similar: violet gall midge ( Dasineura affinis) appeared to be the culprit in that instance. The suggested treatment was a systemic, but the person who responded wrote from France and I am not sure if the recommended treatment is available in the U.S. Does anyone here have a suggestion for treatment?

Also, I am very interested in finding additional violets. I am looking for fragrant types. Can anyone recommend sources? Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 11:47AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

I suppose that a strong, general-purpose insecticide with systemic action (such as often comes as a soil drench or a granular preparation) would be warranted if no other organic method is working - I suggest a trip to your local garden center for advice on what is available, and legal to use, in your area. You'll want to use whatever knocks them out the fastest and most completely so that (if possible) you won't ever have to use it again. Did the plants arrive with this condition? The nursery should be willing to replace plants you had to destroy because of it, although I'll admit their apparent lack of communication in your case is a barrier to good customer service. Keep them updated on any measures you had to take that directly pertain to their responsibility as your plant supplier, as it will help support your case if you are entitled to ask for replacements or a refund.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 6:44PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

I forgot to add to the previous message that I don't know of any other excellent source for fragrant violet cultivars besides Canyon Creek. Other than a tiny number of infrequently-sold Parma violets and odorata varieties being sold here and there, you really aren't going to find much available in our country (and there are no nurseries abroad that export violets); you're awfully lucky just to find Viola odorata that isn't actually just some mislabeled Viola sororia at the local nurseries. It's hardly a wonder that violets are so unpopular today. If there is something specific you're looking for, you may as well post here to see if someone has extras to share or knows of a source. Maybe one day if there is continued (or maybe we should say "rekindled") interest, some sort of functioning violet society exchange could be set up. I get the sense that most cultivars have traditionally been passed around under the table in lean times (and for violet fanciers, let's be honest, most times have been lean times since anyone living can remember).

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 6:55PM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Stefan, Yes, the plants did arrive in this condition. But what would be the point of trying to contact Canyon Creek Nursery again? I tried twice - not asking for a replacement or refund - and they refused to even respond.

I really am sorry about the lack of sources. I would love to add to the plants I have.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 12:09PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

I've had dealings with them that involved waiting a long time for their response - they may very well get back to you, so I suggest you don't give up completely on that avenue. If this nursery is responsible for spreading around a serious violet pest, then I am very disappointed indeed; they've been a good source, and the only source, for most scented violet cultivars.

I see that the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station recommends trying Imidacloprid (which is a Bayer chemical sold under many names that's commonly used against beetles, and is also used in flea and tick killers for pets) at a systemic dose for violet gall midge if hand-picking doesn't work. They have a good page for identifying violet problems and their solutions.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 6:35AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Thank you for the link. The section under "Violet gall midge, Phytophaga violicola" pretty much describes the problem I am having. (In an earlier post, I mentioned I had found a reference on this forum to violet gall midge identified as Dasineura affinis.)

Thank you for the encouragement re. Canyon Creek Nursery, but I wrote them in November a year ago and then again in January. Even for a long time, that is a long time. It does not appear they have any intention of responding.

I did hear of another nursery, I believe it is named Ano Nuevo, located in Palo Alto. Unfortunately, it is "to the trade only". I do have some friends who own nurseries though, hopefully one of them will be be interested in stocking some.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 11:42AM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

Correction: Ano Nuevo Flower Growers is in Daly City, not Palo Alto.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 11:48AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

You're right, that's too much time to wait. You could try calling them, but I can understand how unpleasant that might be after being ignored for so long.

I hope you can find more of what you're looking for at Ano Nuevo - do you know what varieties they might sell, or could you post a list when you learn more about them? I know I'd be curious what else is available in this country, even if it's only wholesale to the trade.

I've talked before about being interested in helping to resurrect the American Violet Society's web site, and although I've been far too busy to take that on lately, I still want to help make it happen. Then, maybe, trading can resume in earnest - although it can be facilitated here, there would be a far better audience through the AVS. After all, trading isn't just a good alternative to purchasing violet plants, it's vital to keep the increasingly scarce cultivar stock alive in our country.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 5:49PM
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wildebloem(8 - Oregon)

I did call Canyon Creek Nursery once, when I could not get a response to an email message. In retrospect, I suppose that should have been a clue.

I checked out Ano Nuevo online - it appears it may be a cut flower grower, but I have not called and confirmed that. I will definitely let you know if they do sell plants, even if it turns out to be wholesale only.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 3:24AM
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Mike Hardman(Cyprus, 100m altitude)

Hi wildebloem,

I would expect it to be Dasineura affinis, violet gall midge, as has been mentioned.

The leaves characteristically thicken, but also roll-up. If you cut or pull a damaged leaf apart you should find a pale orange larva inside, unless it has got past that stage.
The midge most commonly affects V. odorata and related species and cultivars, at least here in the UK.

Imidacloprid should be effective.
But I usually just pick off affected leaves (as you are doing) and burn them. On a reasonably healthy plant, it will recover without difficulty. If you keep at it, the problem will probably subside, unless you are in an area which already has an infestation (fairly unlikely, I would guess). There is not a lot you can do against the adult midges (and , anyway, the first problem would be seeing them!)

I am surprised and disappointed you didn't get better response from Canyon Creek Nursery. John Whittlesey is a decent guy (whom I've met in person), and I would definitely phone him if I had a problem like this and it concerned you (personally, it would not concern me much, as I don't really consider it much of a problem).

Yes, Ano Nuevo are wholesalers. Both have been growing violets for many years.

Good luck,
Referee for Viola for the Botanical Society of the British Isles
Author of the Viola section of the RHS Encyclopaedia of Perennials, 2006

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 7:12PM
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