How to convert systemic chemical fed rose bushe to organic roses?

ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)February 11, 2011

I bought a new property with 16 established (15 year+) rose bushes. Most of them are from the original Jackson Perkins line. The original homeowner has been continually feeding the roses Bayer 2 in 1 systemic fert+insecticide granules on a schedule at regular intervals. I do not even want to think about all the chemicals inside the plants. I want to wean them off from all the systemic toxins - is this possible at all? How do I do this? The bushes are in good condition that I do not want to rip them out. Though if that is the only way, I might have to consider doing it. The recent downpours of rains we have been having might have leached some of the toxins out of the ground?

I cleared the weeds and applied 2-3 inches of compost around each bush already.

Please guide me through the steps I need to follow from here. Thanks for your help.

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diane_nj 6b/7a

Just start using organic fertilizers, and keep applying compost or composted manure in the beds. There isn't any way to "flush" the synthetic products out of the plants, they will have to to that themselves over time.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 1:28PM
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This post is getting a bit old, but is is an interesting subject.

I wouldn't think too much about the traces of toxic chemicals that might remain in your soil. The worst ones are typically fungicides and weed killers, they can build up in soil. Insecticides are often derivatives of plant extracts like tobacco (nicotine), and chrysanthemum (pyretrines), and nature hopefully takes care of them.

However the situation, the roses will happily go organic, and if you don't have any particular problems with fungus in your area, it should be an easy transition.

Good compost, composted cowmanure, seaweed meal, and stuff like plant friendly microorganisms; tricoderma (and others I can't remember their names), that can be added to soil and sprayed on the plants to help establish a healthy balance of natural microlife in the soil and around the plants. There are different kinds that can be bought in bottles, packages and boxes. If you cannot find any near you, you can take half a bucked of real good compost fill it with water,let is sit there for a wile, then strain it, and spray plants, leaves, ground and all with it.

Compost and organic matter will help bring back earth worms, that bayer all in one products might have killed off.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:15AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

About 10 years ago I switched from chemical to organic methods. Prior to that I had been feeding the roses with some brand of chemical fert, not knowing any better. I went cold turkey and started using only organic fertilizers and applying an organic mulch. I got rid of aphids by spraying them with water from the garden hose, and picked off leaves of blackspot or rust. I don't know how long it took for the soil to convert because I didn't check for worms, but they are healthy robust roses and are often frequented by birds. Whenever I see a bird in the roses, I am thankful we stopped using the synthetic stuff.

BTW, I have never seen a worm on the tomato plants we grow, but I do see a lot of birds on them. If our tomato plants get any worms at all, the birds get them before we see them.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 7:56PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I switched from chemical fertilizers to organic a few years ago. There was no adverse effect, just positive. I wouldn't worry about the toxins, they are likely gone since chemical fertilizers don't last long. I use a mixture of alfalfa, cottonseed, blood and bone meal. In the fall I put compost and cow manure around each rose. All the roses, including many J&P Hypbrid teas love it.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 8:09PM
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