Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Q & A from my St. Pete Times column in 2006

La Reine

Lady Bugs boinking

E. Veyrat Hermanos

Dear Mr. Starnes,
Your article re "Roses don't abhor water on leaves" was of interest to me.
Over the years I have tried to grow roses and have always used fungicides and insecticides on them. Having done that for so many years is it possible that the roses can be retrained to live without these pesticides?
This year for the first time there were 'thrips' on the buds and I used a malathion spray on them every other day until they were "thrip" free.
What would you recommend for this type of invasion?
Hi Elizabeth,
I am glad to hear that you want to explore the non-toxic approaches to rose gardening that so many of the world's leading rosarians have relied on for years to make the hobby safe for the environment, much less expensive, and far less of the hassle that people associate with roses. In my garden and my clients' rose gardens no one technique is used for this-and-that pest. Rather, by withholding ALL chemical pesticides, adding beneficial fungi, bacteria, and predatory insects, we allow a natural balance to occur that prevents most bug and disease issues. I have never sprayed once since 1998 when I bought this south Tampa lot, have over 200 roses, and thrips are a very rare occurrence. Yet the sprayed gardens I visit fight them and other plagues throughout the year! My women friends have long told me they get yeast infections following an antibiotic regimen due to good bacteria in the GITand UT being killed off; they respond by eating and/or doucheing with yogurt. Adding beneficials to a long sprayed garden is like yogurt for the garden. Try to add a broad range of beneficial fungi and microbes and beneficial insects to your gardens' ecologies to begin creating a healthy balance. Sprinkling your gardens with any dry compost maker plus "Calf Manna" from a feed store plus Ringer Lawn Restore will allow you to add beneficial bacteria and fungi. And once you stop spraying, various native lady bugs, lace wings and tiny non-stinging trichogamma wasps (buy their eggs at 'Gardens Alive!') will colonize your roses as allies eating the bad bugs FOR you! Keep me posted!

No comments:

Post a Comment