Nat­u­ral is best for your roses

The Tribune (NZ) - - ALFRESCO - WALLY RICHARDS

Diseases and pests are na­ture’s way of re­mov­ing weak plants to make way for strong ones. Use of pro­pri­etary chem­i­cals to com­bat pests and dis­ease may seem to make things bet­ter for a sea­son or two, but sooner or later the the law of di­min­ish­ing re­turns ap­plies.

These man-made chem­i­cals are not good for us or our gar­dens. Poi­sons end up in the water, air and in our food.

My ap­proach is to use only nat­u­ral prod­ucts to en­hance the soil food web. For roses, use a base food con­sist­ing of an­i­mal ma­nures in­clud­ing sheep ma­nure pel­lets, blood & bone, Bio Boost, Dolomite, Wallys Neem Tree Gran­ules and com­post that’s not made from green waste.

Roses are sus­cep­ti­ble to her­bi­cides and green waste com­posts can have var­i­ous her­bi­cides used for weed con­trol in lawns, as well as gen­eral weed killers that con­tain glyphosate.

If roses are show­ing signs of dis­torted, un­usual or feath­ery look­ing new growths, that is her­bi­cide dam­age.

To the base food, ev­ery six months add Rok Solid and even a lit­tle Ocean Solids for their rich min­eral con­tent. Dur­ing the flow­er­ing sea­son, once a month ap­ply a lit­tle Fruit and Flower Power.

Start­ing in spring with the first sign of new growths spray twice weekly with a com­bined mix of Wallys Neem Tree Su­per Oil@ 5ml per litre, Magic Botanic Liq­uid (MBL)@ 10ml per litre, My­cor­rcin @ 5ml per litre.

Ev­ery sec­ond spray, or once a month, use Perk­fec­tion Supa for Roses, 4ml per litre added to the above. Spray­ing of these prod­ucts should only be done just be­fore sun­set.

If all is go­ing well and the roses are look­ing great af­ter a few months, change this regime to once a month.

If there’s any out­break of dis­ease, spray potas­sium per­man­ganate at a quar­ter a tea­spoon per litre, adding one mil of Rain­gard.

This will help ar­rest dis­ease spores dur­ing win­ter. A cou­ple of sprays of this while the roses are dor­mant can be good value. In­clude a spray of the soil in the root zone also.

Don’t use chlo­ri­nated tap-water as this re­ally knocks back the soil food web and leads to leaf diseases and then more pest prob­lems. It also cre­ates the soil con­di­tions that pathogens love.

At the tap, fit a 10 mi­cron car­bon bonded fil­ter. The plants will love it and so will the soil life, in­clud­ing the earth worms.

To fei­joas, and if you had a dis­ap­point­ing fei­joa sea­son, there are two pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Firstly, make sure the fei­joas are get­ting plenty of ma­nure along with Fruit and Flower Power.

Even so, if the tree has many fruit­ing branches that are pro­duc­ing lots of small fruit, it means too many fruit­ing branches are com­pet­ing for the same food source. A smaller num­ber of branches will pro­mote big­ger fruit.

Now that fruit­ing is about fin­ished, it’s a good time to re­move some branches, par­tic­u­larly any that are strag­gly, to open up the tree. Next sea­son’s crop should see a vast im­prove­ment.

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

Get­ting the best re­sults from roses starts at ground level.

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