Monday, June 25, 2012

Every Other Monday ...

... is Spray Day.  I live in an area of the country (central Virginia) where blackspot and other fungal diseases are a real problem for many of the roses that I grow.  It's pretty easy to keep it at bay, with an application of a good systemic fungicide twice a month.

Here is my sprayer ... a 12-gallon Mantis Spraymate that makes applying fungicide to 800+ roses as effortless as it can be.  One full batch in this baby will do about 3/4 of the garden, coating the leaves of susceptible roses with a fine mist of fungicide.  (I don't spray the ramblers or other large roses that aren't bothered by blackspot.)

My fungicide of choice right now is Honor Guard (the generic form of Banner Maxx, available from Rosemania.)  It is highly concentrated, and this one-quart bottle will last about two years.  For smaller gardens, I recommend Bayer Advanced Disease Control, which is available at Lowes and local specialty nurseries.

I believe in the use of fungicide to keep blackspot and other fungal diseases under control.  The use of a systemic, which is labeled for application every 14 - 21 days, means that I am exposing the environment (and myself) less frequently.  Though I use fungicide, I do NOT use insecticides of any type in my garden ... nothing at ALL ... no organics, no insecticidal soap ... they all kill and I'm not getting into a cycle of playing Mother Nature.  I let the good bugs eat the bad bugs, and the garden stays mostly in balance.

I also believe in using a product that treats problems directly.  For this reason, I do not use (nor do I recommend) soil drenches for control of blackspot or insects.  If I have something wrong with the leaves of my roses (blackspot), I apply a product to the leaves to treat the problem.  I also don't recommend combination products (some products have insecticide and fungicide combined ... some drenches even have insecticide, fungicide, and fertilizer.)  In my garden, fungicide gets sprayed on leaves, fertilizer is applied to the soil, and insecticides are not allowed.

Decked out in long pants, long sleeves, rubber gardening shoes, with my safety glasses and mask, it only took 2 hours this morning to walk the garden with my sprayer and use up all 12 gallons ... which was enough to do everything but the back half of the Rose Field.  Normally I would have mixed up another couple of gallons of spray to finish the job, but I was hot and tired, and the breeze picked up, and I decided to do the rest of the roses tomorrow.


  1. Very worthy post. Many thanks for all the good info.

  2. Great post! I agree with everything! I too only spray for blackspot, not as often as I should. I usually fertilize with compost for my roses, my dirt, being on an old farm, is gorgeous and will grow anything, I just add compost, my soil is loaded with worms, and I am not going to do anything to interfere with them. I do not put anything on or to attract bad bugs, there is a balance...I encourage birds, and pick japanese beetles. The only thing I will do is spray for weeds occassionally, and I worry about that. Have fun in the garde! donna :)

  3. I admire your stamina to be outside... it's too hot for me!

  4. Yes the black spot hubbys job which he was not good at this year. Someone told me they sprayed kelp on them one season at a nursery she worked at and they were gorgeous all yr. I'm going to try it.
    Stay cool

  5. Thanks for the informative post, Connie. Spraying has always boggled by mind, and I have never felt intellectually adequate to do it. So I'm very thankful that my roses get hardly any black spot. Sounds unbelievable for a Florida garden, doesn't it? For my purposes elimination has been the best fungal deterrent, and I'm still left with some beautiful roses. At least it's only two hours every other week for you. That leaves a lot of other hours to enjoy your beautiful roses.


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