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The Invisible Gardener's
Click here to hear Andy talk about Organic and Natural Rose Pest and Natural Rose Disease Controls on his radio shows.
The first thing
you have to do is address the nutritional needs of your property as well as that of
the plants. Proper nutrition is the KEY to natural pest control.
Anytime you treat the cause, you will be controlling its effects. Ask
yourself, "What am I doing to the soil?". Stop using chemical
fertilizers. Stop using pesticides that are not made naturally. Avoid
high nitrogen at all costs.
Fertilizer exposure can be as dangerous as pesticide exposure. So decide now if it's organic that you want to do it. Remember, you can't be organic only when it suits you to do so. Organic demands that it become your way of life.
Take Good Care of the Soil and the Soil will take good care of your Roses!
If you are a first time rose grower there are many things we must agree upon before starting. How much time do you plan to spend on your roses? Are you a part-time rose lover or are you going to really go at it? There are many good books available on the subject of growing roses. Take an organic rose growing class. Growing roses for show is a great deal of fun and also lots of work. You will also have to decide if you are growing organically or if you will be using chemicals.
Organic or Chemical ?
Our health is the number one reason for growing Roses organically. Consider the many chemicals on the market today and the many health problems that arise from their continual use. Remember that children and older adults are at greater risk. Secondly, consider the environmental pollution associated with their production, transport and consumer use. You can have that perfect show rose grown organically and stay healthy to enjoy it. An added benefit is that roses organically grown are more disease resistant, & they last longer!
The Big Switch
Going from Chemical to Organic can be a traumatic experience to both the rose and the grower. Plants as well as people go through chemical withdrawals. You must allow at least one year to complete the switch (see converting to organics). This allows both you and the plants time to adjust to the new organic regime. While it is best to start off organically, you may not be able to. Commercial rose growers are not organic and therefore when you first purchase your roses they have been grown chemically! Don't Panic! Given time your roses will love being grown organically.
The varieties you choose are important. Environmental conditions determine what varieties will do well and what will not. Don't just plant any rose or you will be sorry! Take into consideration the following: Is it hot and dry? Is is very wet? Fog? Winds? Where are you located? Your state will have its own special environmental issues that you will have to deal with. What varieties are being grown in your location?
Choose an airy location to allow for air circulation to reduce fungus development. A sunny location is a must if you're going to have stress- free roses. Early morning sun is best for roses. They like to look at sunrises! Give them as much sunlight as possible.
What Condition my Condition was in
The soil's condition determines everything. If you have all of the other conditions correct but not the soil, you will not be able to grow them organically and chemicals will be needed. The key to growing anything organically is healthy soil. Living soil allows for a functional diversity of organisms. Functional diversity is how organisms cooperate with each other. This sharing of resources provides for an ecologically balanced system. The greater the balance the higher the energy level, the greater the nutritional levels, the less the stress and the less the pests.
Know your Soil PH
Different plants require a different PH for maximum benefit. Know your plants and their PH requirements. In soil where the PH is too high it will not be able to assimilate certain minerals resulting in a trace mineral deficiency which invites a pest or disease attack. Most animal manure's have a high PH and you must use peat moss (coconut hulls are better try Gardeners Supply), forest shavings, etc., to counter balance this. Most Rock dust also has a high PH (8-9 PH) and therefore must be balanced with a slightly acid mulch/soil, compost. Roses love a PH of 6.5