Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To Spray or Not To Spray …

I spray my roses. When I tell people this, I imagine that they are picturing me out in the garden wearing a haz-mat suit, carrying a pump sprayer with a skull and crossbones on the side of it. There are rose gardeners who want to kill every bug and fungus in their garden … but that’s not me. I just want my roses to have leaves in the summer.

Blackspot, and other fungal diseases, are a huge problem here. Without fungicide, my roses will lose their leaves. The rose would then have to expend its energy reserve to replace those leaves. Without leaves, the rose loses its ability to produce carbohydrates for growth and flowering. I want my roses to grow and flower, not sit there and struggle to grow leaves.

I use Bayer Advanced Disease Control fungicide. NOT the Bayer product with insecticide and fertilizer, and NOT the one you mix and pour on the soil. The concentrate in the blue bottle … for some reason, it’s only available at Lowes and some specialty nurseries. It’s good stuff, reasonably priced (around $15.00), and it’s worth the effort to find it.

Spray Day this year has been every other Thursday. It takes me about 2 ½ hours. My sprayer is a 2-gallon pump sprayer.
Large Sprayer and Fungicide

With 600+ garden roses here to care for, and the 400-or-so Inventory Roses, I have to fill the sprayer 5 or 6 times. With a garden this spread out, going back and forth to the faucet to refill the sprayer gets pretty tiresome. I will soon be on the hunt for a new sprayer with a larger capacity … probably an electric one on wheels that I can pull around.

What should you do if you have only a few roses to spray? How about a little half-gallon sprayer like this:
Small Sprayer

It's available in the garden department of just about any big box store, and it only costs a few dollars.

I’m a big fan of the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a fancy way of saying that I only treat the pests and problems that are beyond my tolerance. Aphids? I let the birds and good bugs get them. Japanese Beetles? Sometimes I knock them into a bucket of soapy water. Sometimes I see how far I can flick them. I taught my grandson to flick them ... sometimes we have contests to see who can flick one the farthest. Mostly, I just ignore them. Thrips? These have been terrible this year, and they are destroying a majority of my buds, so I may have to resort to something to salvage any flowers at all. So far, I have just ignored the thrips, too.

The most important part of pest control is to identify the pest you are trying to control, whether it’s a fungus or an insect pest. Don’t ever throw pesticides at an unknown problem hoping to eliminate it. It’s bad for the rose, it’s bad for you, and it’s bad for the environment.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning Connie. I think this product is a great recomendation for dealing with the afore mentioned problems! I'm wondering, though, if perhaps there is an organic alternative out there? I'm not sure, I'm just beginning the journey to becoming totally organic, myself.

    There are some Espoma products for controlling many insects (and also fungus)... We carry some of them at meadows/Roxbury... You can also find a guide to their entire line of products if you search Espoma.

    I think that, unfortunately, these are going to take more work than the Bayer, but it's just something to consider.

    I wish you all the best in controlling these pesky problems!



Thanks for stopping by and reading what I share. Comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Spam and trolls are not!

Related Posts with Thumbnails