Keith Kridler, Texas

Diseases and pest inspections

March 19, 2015
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Categories: Basal Rot, Diseases and Pests, Nematode

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Dave brings up a good point most people do not know. You can export a diseased daffodil (or plant or fruit) to a country or region of a country that already has that particular pest or disease. Tete-a-tete is the number 1 bulb grown around the world. Pretty sure every one of these bulbs of that variety that you buy will already have one or more common types of virus! Plant inspections are more geared to looking for a “new and exotic” pest that causes “economic damage” to commercial growers. There is not any reason to restrict a plant with any “minor” pest problem if every country/location you ship to already has this pest!

It is up to the commercial daffodil growers to be wary of bringing in new bulbs from other growers into their growing operation! Commercial farmers who produce food plants, simply rotate crops and grow corn, then wheat, then soybeans, then back to corn as they have different pests, diseases and fertilizer needs. Hobbyist daffodil growers tend to grow daffodils in the same flower beds for their entire lives!

OK the Nematode issue! Plant breeders have selected tomato plants that “resist” the root knot nematode. You can grow tomato plants that are resistant to nematodes and a whole host of bacterium and fungal diseases, when the “Heirloom” tomato plant right next to the resistant ones die before they ever produce a tomato. We all know that certain daffodil breeding has produced “Basil rot” susceptible varieties and also some that are really resistant to basal rot.

OK, nematodes will feed on a wide range of different plant species, remove their favorite plant, or favorite variety and they will gleefully move over to the next edible root! They do NOT die out.

OK talk about “research” into nematodes “What IF” out of the some 25,000 named varieties of daffodils that there are “some” that might be more nematode resistant than the variety that is grown right beside it. Why will Ice Follies and the other Wister Award winner daffodils grow in almost any flower bed from Canada to the deep south and come back year after year for 40 years or longer?

In my greenhouse/plant room I grow some plants as they are “preferred” by spider mites, mealy bugs and or aphids. There are a few plants that certain “pest” insects will show up on first. IF you remove that food source for that pest, they will just show up on the very next favorite food source if you do not treat the pest problem. As the pest problem spreads from the “favorite” host plant they then move to the “second” then third favorite.

At some point we daffodil growers need to be ohhhing and awwwing about these daffodil varieties that thrive and survive and multiply, rather than the varieties that die out with the first wet summer with high soil temperatures or cease to multiple with the first signs of a pest or other disease.

Keith Kridler
Mt. Pleasant, Texas

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One Response to Diseases and pest inspections

  1. David Adams, New Zealand
    March 20, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Hi Folks,
    Whilst accurate Keith’s comments may be a little misleading in that the inspection process here in New Zealand is very rigorous. Perhaps it will help if I explain what happens.

    An inspector visits my property in October and examines the plants in growth then takes random soil samples from the export area. I receive a report on any pathogens observed and found, or not found in the soil. All up cost around $NZ600.00.

    In March, when the bulbs are ready for postage, I take them to the inspection office. It is easy for me to take them as the office is only five minutes from home. Others have the inspection done on their property which incurs extra costs.

    EVERY bulb in the package is individually inspected. After inspection the bulb is placed back in its packet which I staple and place in an already addressed box. When the inspection is complete the officer seals the box and a numbered sticky seal is placed over the box opening as evidence that the box has not been tampered with. I wait a day for the completed phytosanitary certificate to arrive. This is attached to the outside of the box and the bulbs are posted. Cost about $NZ400.00 for the inspection and $NZ150.00 for each individual certificate hence a desire to place multiple orders in one posting.

    A couple of year’s ago bulb scale mite was found on a bulb. Although mite is not on the prohibited list the bulb was not allowed to be sent thus illustrating my earlier comment that the inspection process is very rigorous.

    I trust that this reassures people that the likelihood of pathogens arriving on imported bulbs is very slim.

    Dave