Thursday, March 5, 2009

Equiping Rose Plant to Fight Disease & Pest ?

by Richard Chew

There is some common responses when I converse with people on the topic of growing roses. The word "difficult la" usually comes up and the next common statement is "must spray fungicide and pesticide regularly wor..".

Yes I do agree with the first comment, it is difficult especially if we lack the understanding and experiences. Anyway I won't want to dwell too much on the difficulty part. It is not my intention to expound this point here.

However I am keen to present the common misconception of using fungicide and pesticide on roses whether as preventive or controlling measures. This topic has caught my attention lately. How much of fungicide and pesticide is sufficient to successfully grow roses? Weekly or fortnightly? Spray on leaves or soil or both? Which type is better? Oil base type, organic type or chemically formulated? Which pest control strategy is best? Repel pest, kill, eliminate or destroy its eggs? Which one doesn't damage its leaves and stems but kill the pest effectively?

I suppose all these are valid questions. You probably were considering all these factors when you were deciding which pesticide and fungicide to use. And after much consideration, you thought you have selected the best pesticide/fungicide in the market, and then a week or 2 later, the pests came back again. Then someone came along and recommended another pesticide/fungicide brand. You consented and a week or 2 later, again you discovered it didn't work to your expectations. And just to console yourself, you say to yourself perhaps you didn't apply it correctly and had not been consistent enough. And therefore you blamed yourself and perhaps close to concluding that growing roses is not your thing.

In case what I mentioned above is what has been bombarding your mind and in case you are entertaining thoughts of giving up growing roses, please give me a moment to share my thoughts with you. I hope by the end of this posting, you will reconsider before you decide and make your own conclusion.

Let me clarify this, growing roses is not about fighting pests and diseases. Really, it is not meant to drain you out and down. It is meant for you to enjoy the blooms and colours. I don't worry about my rose plants geting infected but if they do I'll treat it as a surprise and a opportunity to learn something new.

However keep this in mind, rose plants are 'designed' by our Almighty for us to enjoy.

I am not going to present you a super formula today. But first and foremost I wish to tackle on our 'philosophy' in our garden practise, in fact this 'philosophy' can be extended for growing other plants.

Naturally we are protective. We protect our children from danger as well as bad influences. It is not wrong, it is good attribute and it comes naturally. However if we become overly protective (extreme case), we may end up causing more harm than good. Is there a difference between protective and being over protective? In my opinion, Yes. Being over protective is simply controlling the one you are protecting.

Pardon me for deviating from the main topic, however I wish to illustrate that plants do have some ability to resist pest and diseases. It could be possibile that your rose plants been overly protected thus they have lost the ability to resist infection. And more detrimentally, the over use of pesticide causes the pests to become more resistant to it. Therefore new brands, new mixtures are continually introduced and marketed to counter new breeds of pests and infections.

My intention here is to present a concept to you that may change your gardening practise. I believe if you adopt this concept, you will find gardening more meaningful especially plants that you love to have in your garden but could not because of recurring pest infestation.

My proposal to you is 'Equiping your Rose Plant to Resist and Fight Diseases and Pests'. Please do not misquote me. I am not telling you to dispose your pesticides and fungicides immediately. I believe it has its place and usage. However strengthening your rose plant should be your top priority. You need to know the environment and food that your rose plant like.

If you see pests or diseases at your rose plant, look at it as a secondary problem. Administering pesticide is just a form of relief, like relieving someone suffering from high fever with a iced cool pad on his forehead. Focus your attention on fixing the primary problem, the root cause. Strenghtening the person's immune system to fight the viruses is a much better and long lasting solution.

I believe by now you probably have this question, if this is the right approach, then how do I strengthened my rose plant? If you are thinking of this question now, good for you, that means you have accepted my proposal.

I must admit it has not been easy for me because there were lots of trial and error, success and failure. However embracing this 'philosophy' in my gardening practise has steered and helped me stay on course to discover and learn many new things.

Keep this thought with you, as you attempt or reattempt to grow roses in your garden. I hope this helps to 'reengineer' your gardening practise in dealing with pests and diseases.

Keep asking the right questions... you will find the right answers.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Dealing with Spider Mites Infestations - Part 2

by Richard Chew

This is continuation of my posting on dealing with spider mites infestation. I thought my readers may want to know what happened to my "The Prince" rose.

This is Day 12 since I first detected spider mites and no recurrence since I last jet spray 7 days ago.

The following are some pictures.

The picture above is the whole plant. You will notice the older leaves are badly damaged by the direct hot sun. And it may invite spider mites if hot and dry conditions prevail. It is best to place it totaly shielded from direct sun. Another reason is because this rose is not sun tolerant type.

This is the result and outcome of after I posted part 1. Once the older leaves drop, new ones will grow.

The following pictures are new shoots and growth.

I got a surprise, when I discovered a garlic shoot (chive). It wasn't my intention to plant it. One of the bulb must have germinated. It is suppose to act as a mite repellant.

From this experience, it does make a lot of difference, if we make the little change to accomodate the rose plant growing condition.

Like I said earlier, need to monitor till at least for 30 days to be assured that the mites are 100% gone for good.