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A Fungus Among Us
Discussion id : 9-880
most recent 29 AUG 05 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 29 AUG 05 by Anonymous-797
Enjoyed your article very much. There is always interest in organic solutions in our society. As the editor of the Indianapolis Rose Society, we would like to request permission or inquire about reprinting this article. Thanks in advance!
Discussion id : 9-580
most recent 15 JUL 05 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 14 JUL 05 by Anonymous-98171
So often as a new rosarian I am encouraged to maintain my roses organically and I would love to comply. I have four dogs and three cats and someday, hopefully, if my daughter ever complies, also will have grandchildren. For now the pets all crawl all over my yard and frequently use my larger roses, for example Mutabilis, as shade trees planted especially for their napping enjoyment. I'm not excited about having the chemicals around them but I like the disease and non-beneficial insects less - insects especially because they are a hazard for the pet as well as the plant. It's nice to be encouraged to use organics by someone who will go the extra mile and teach me HOW to use them as well. It does me no good to be encouraged without education as I am already committed to the organic process from a philosophical stance. The education enables me to commit to organics from a physical perspective as well. I also enjoyed the style of prose used in this article. It was indeed a pleasure to read.

**Comment annotation says posted by unregistered guest but I am a new registrant whose reg info apparently is not completely updated yet.
Reply #1 of 5 posted 15 JUL 05 by Unregistered Guest
Well thank you SO much for your kind words, AND for making non-toxic gardening and rose growing a core value. This country could use a few tens of millions more folks like you! John Starnes
Reply #2 of 5 posted 15 JUL 05 by Wendy C.
I understand your frustration, and the difficult choice it presents.
I'm somewhere in the middle and spray when I have to. When possible I like systemic products. They don't wash off and are selective..if it eats the rose it goes.
Moving to organic is a process. I'm down to spraying for insects once a year, in the spring. From once a month six years ago. I tolerate more damage than I used to as well.

If you stop spraying all together, nature is going to take a couple of seasons to balance. The beneficials need time to acknowledge your garden as a feeding ground.

The nonbeneficials always show up first. In a week or so the others come because there is food. Aphids can be sprayed off with water or squished. Others are more stealthy. Spider mites detest water and can be controled with frequent (every couple of days) water sprays to the underside of the base of the bush. Cane borers can be waylaid by putting a dab of white glue on the tips of your freshly pruned canes.

Beneficial insects can be dangerous to your pets. Many of the wasps and hornets are beneficial to the garden. They are preditory and eat what eat the roses...and can sting. Spiders are good for the garden and can be's a balancing act.

So far as the diseases go some respond better than others to organics. Prevention is the key to controling them. Remove any suspicious foliage and discard in the trash. Water at ground level. Give the roses a chance to dry before evening, if the foliage gets wet, when humidity raises and gives black spot, rust and powdery mildew spores an opportunity to grow.

Some roses are more resistant to disease than others..look for those.
In example. Red Blaze will black spot. It is the way this rose is. It will black spot when no one else does. Moonstone doesn't get powdery mildew and black spots only slightly.

There is an article on HMF ezine 'Herbal RX' details companions which will discourage nonbeneficials. A small pond or bird bath will add birds to the yard and many of them will feast on your bugs.

An internet search 'organic/controls/rose' brought up all sorts of sites on the subject.

Good luck with your quest. Hope this was helpful.
Reply #3 of 5 posted 15 JUL 05 by Anonymous-98171
Thank you so much for your advice. It will prove to be very helpful as I continue to experiment to find a good balance. You are so right, the chemical vs organics can be a circular battle. I swore this year I was only going to use organics and told myself that if I kept my roses well fed and healthy they would be able to tolerate a little insect or fungal action. What I didn't consider was how my 13 year old shih tzu would handle a brown recluse bite. Thank goodness I have a wonderful and very sharp vet who recognized the bite and knew exactly what to do and my precious little one is fine. Chemicals +1, organics -2. We have a similar issue with birds. When we bought our home we were so thrilled that the previous owner had installed four huge martin houses and several other miscellaneous bird houses throughout our large back yard. Unfortunately, our cats were just as thrilled. The cats are rescues, two were borderline feral and one was full out feral when they moved in. No way to turn them into inside cats. We took the bird houses down in deference to the babies who frequently fall out of their nests and into very well fed but greedy jowls. On the other hand, we never have to worry about rodents in our vegetables. For the meantime I'm using an IPM type of methodology for handling the pest and disease issues and I've bought almost all of the Earth Kind roses. I tend to stay away from Hybrid Teas(with a few exceptions) and I keep the lower 1/8 of my bushes free of foliage so if there's splash when I irrigate the water won't hit the leaves. I was told by an ARS rosarian to give my roses a mist in the mid afternoon when the days hit the high 90's and 100's but the leaves dry by the time I turn off the hose. Do you think that's ok? The roses seem to like it. I also spend a lot of time researching, experimenting and journaling. All that said, I've gained the most insight and education from those of you who have been nurturing roses much longer than I. It's amazing to me the knowledge base that y'all develop over time - my only hope is that someday, preferably before I cause any serious attrition in my garden, I'll get there too. Thank you so much for your help! Rhonda
Reply #4 of 5 posted 15 JUL 05 by Anonymous-98171
Oh, also, I'm with you on the systemics. Is there a particular one that you prefer?
Reply #5 of 5 posted 15 JUL 05 by Wendy C.
snip<>I was told by an ARS rosarian to give my roses a mist in the mid afternoon when the days hit the high 90's and 100's but the leaves dry by the time I turn off the hose. Do you think that's ok? The roses seem to like it. ><

This would be like a nice cool cloth on your neck for the roses, and as I said spider mites detest water. They seem to arrive in hot weather, so you are serving two purposes.

Systemic products, gardening products in general, are added and subtracted from shelves at a staggering rate. Othro makes one which I've had good luck with as does Fertilome. I've not had much success with new all in one feed products, but you might.

We have cats too. Four of them. I was mortified the first time they brought me home a present. Then it occured to me that's what they do, they're cats. It also occured to me that if one of my well fed, declawed house cats could capture a wasn't doing well to begin with. A hawk, owl or something else would have taken care of it. It's nice not having to worry about rodents.

We only have four small bird houses which were here when we moved in. When I added a small pond garden the bird presence sky rocketed, and most of them don't nest in my yard. There must be 10 or better species who swoop around eating insects. It's cool. Most of them are very cat savy and know how to avoid them.

Growing roses is a never ending learning process, each season builds on the last.
Glad I could be of service.
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