Organic Rose Care
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Karla
Posted on: April 28, 2009

You recommend spraying as soon as new leaves have fully developed on the rose plants. My question is spraying of what? Can you recommend an organic non toxic solution?

The main problems for roses are powdery mildew and aphids. The traditional recommendation is to treat rose bushes with combination fungicide-insecticide sprays throughout the growing season in order to prevent mildew and aphids. Typically, these sprays contained toxic chemicals which few in the past worried much about. But nowadays we are all concerned about the overuse of chemicals in the environment and around our homes and we are turning more and more to natural methods. In some jurisdictions such as our own, the Province of Ontario, outdoor use of pesticides in home gardens is now banned.

The American Rose Society has an excellent website devoted to organic rose care:

www.organicrosecare.org

There are no "magic bullet" replacement sprays for the old toxic ones. The ARS website does offer some simple solutions you can make at home when pests or diseases get out of hand, but fundamentally you need to change your thinking and look at providing the conditions that will reduce infestations in the first place. Organic care starts from the ground up: provide healthy organic soil and already half the battle is won. Sanitation around the yard and proper care such as timely pruning can go a long way toward eliminating the need for sprays.

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