Integrated Pest Management: Time For a Reminder!
As we go into the cooler, damper, winter season, it is a great time to check out your growing room for unwanted pests & pathogens. Use whatever you have available that allows you to peek "under the covers/hood" of your plants. Wisely choose a treatment strategy that works for what you are able to identify. Please don't GUESS at what's there when selecting a treatment. It's not wise to use a sledge hammer on a nail when a thumbtack will work. Because your environment may be closed, limit use of toxic chemicals whenever possible. If necessary to use anything toxic, plan to treat on a day when the temperature outside is warmer & you can treat in an open area. As always, wear protective clothing, gloves, etc - your safety is important!
I usually take this time to fire up my USB digital microscope & scan my collection for anything suspicious. My microscope is my BEST FRIEND & an integral part of my Integrated Pest Management strategy (IPM). For more information about IPM, check out my recorded presentations from the 2020 AVSA Virtual Convention, found on the AVSA YouTube Channel. This is a 3-part series on IPM & a good refresher on the pathogens & pests we deal with in our AV growing communities.
Unfortunately, there seems to be an "uptick" in comments about Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus, or INSV circulating around the social media world. This is unfortunate, but appears to be something that runs in periodic cycles. My best guess is that being shut down for a couple of years due to the pandemic, INSV cases have increased due to an increase in plant propagation by more people PLUS an uptick of sharing of plant materials via purchasing/shipping across the country. Before the pandemic, most of our sharing was probably done at local, regional, state, & national events. Being isolated, many turned to purchasing from outside sources from locations further away from their homes. Of course, this is just my opinion & there may be some who disagree, which is ok.
As a reminder, the TRASH CAN IS ALWAYS YOUR BEST FRIEND. If anything looks suspicious, always err on the side of caution. It is much easier to trash something than try to save it. Trying to save plant material means you are committing emotionally to saving something. If you fail, then it is so easy to get discouraged & lose interest.
Bottom line is a reminder that ANYTIME we purchase ANYTHING from ANYWHERE, we should ALWAYS TREAT, ISOLATE, OBSERVE for a period of time during which we are able to determine the material is safe to introduce into our collections. Always better to be SAFE than SORRY..