Would you recommend Garden Alive products???

maggie_berry(z6CT)May 21, 2005

Hi, I'm getting ready to try an organic control method for my roses. My chemical methods have not been that great. I'm thinking about ordering "Roses Alive" amd "Shield-All II Neem Fungicide"

Would you recommend these products?

Any alternative products or methods would be appreciated.

I have a nice mixture shrubs, english, and modern and old roses.

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Sophie Wheeler

No I would not recommend them. First of all, GA is owned by the same company that owns Michigan Bulb. That's bad enough for starters, but they are way overpriced, and their catalog hype makes it seem as though the gardener who uses their stuff is guaranteed to be successful with zero problems. That's absolutely NOT the case, in any type of organic gardening. In fact, a greater tolerace to disease and imperfection must be internalized as one of the tenets of being organic.

You can buy micronized sulpher at your local nursery much cheaper and in greater quantity than you can at GA, and it's the most effective organic garden fungicide. Plain old horticultural oil works just fine as a contact insecticide, and is far cheaper than any of the oil based cides sold at GA. Never use anything oil based anytime close to using something sulpher based, or you will fry your foliage big time. Plain old alfalfa and cottonseed meal sold at your local feed store along with manure is some of the best organic fertilizer available. All of this is far far cheaper than through GA, and you don't have to read their marketing.

The best thing you can do to make organic practices successful with your roses is to thin the herd. That means shovelpruning those that are unsuited to growing this way in your climate. That may mean about 90% of the HT's and modern roses. Grow the ones that will stand the conditions and that you can stand a certain level of damage to them. Decide how leafless roses must be before you shovelprune them and stick with it. Leaving fungal magnets in your garden affects the whole garden.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 10:11AM
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HollySprings, Thank you for your advice, it is appreciated! So, first, Get rid of the trouble makers. second a good natural fertilizer. Third? neem or an insecticides soap? or does it matter? My big concern is the Japanese beetles. Maggie

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 4:58PM
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Sophie Wheeler

For Japanese beetles, just prune your roses back and their time will pass. They (the beetles) don't last long, and nothing much other than handpicking them works that well. Well, unless you can get your neighbors to consider using some of those traps that is. They'll have the problems and maybe yours will be less. But, rose oil is actually one of the components of the bait bags, so if you've got rose blooms, you've got beetles.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 11:28PM
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trytryagain(7b NC)

We have EXTREME problems here with black spot, thrips, and Japanese beetles. I have resorted to using all kinds of CAUTION chemicals in the past, but have decided to try safer methods. We had more beetles on the plants when we didn't use the traps than when we did. We caught huge numbers in the traps, but there was little damage to the rose blossoms. It is important to empty the traps daily because they are repelled by the smell of dead beetles. At least the Japanese beetles are only here in June.
I have tried a neem product in the past without any success at all. I threw out the bottle after a few uses. I am going to use spinosad as soon as I can get some, as it sounds safe and effective for thrips. Then I am going to try summer oil with baking soda for blackspot, as I read that baking soda is actually curative, not just preventative, for blackspot. And the summer oil is supposed to kill off spider mites, notoriously difficult to kill. I've got my fingers crossed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Use of Baking Soda as Fungicide

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 5:58PM
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Trytryagain, The good thing is that Baking Soda is cheap and easy to work with. I have three beds with three rows of roses. I have about 100 roses. I'm going to experiment. Some roses will have baking soda, Some nothing at all, maybe if someone else writes in with a rememdy I will try a third method. Thank you for the link, Maggie

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 8:43PM
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tinamcg(Z5b Kansas City)

I would recommend Gardens Alive -- but with caution. Maggie Berry is correct about their inflated claims and prices, however....some of their products are really terrific. I stopped buying neem products from them because of the cost, and I can get fertilizers anywhere. But I've been using some of their bioinsecticides and biofungicides and I really like them. I also buy mycorrhizae fungi (Root Boost) from them. Recently, I started to use their Bug Pro beneficial insect attractant and I could not believe how well it worked. We have ladybeetles and parasitic wasps eating all the aphids on our honeysuckles bushes at the moment.

So just be careful to shop wisely at GA.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 4:28PM
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Then I am going to try summer oil with baking soda for blackspot, as I read that baking soda is actually curative, not just preventative, for blackspot.

Nothing is curative for blackspot. You'll see once you try the baking soda routine that it's not very good at preventing blackspot, either. It's great for powdery mildew, though.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 5:00PM
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trytryagain(7b NC)

Maggie Berry, I will be very interested to read about how your experiment with baking soda works. Your 100 roses will certainly be a better test than my 8! Threeducks, you are probably right about the baking soda. I bought Bonide's "Remedy", as I read that potassium bicarbonate is better than the sodium bicarbonate in baking soda. But I have a fear that it is not going to work, and that I will have to go back to using less safe fungicides. Blackspot is so bad here that unsprayed bushes are rapidly defoliated and die. I have lived in in many different states, but the Sandhills of NC is the WORST place to try to grow roses that I have ever seen. Even the community college's horticultural garden roses have lots of blackspot.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 7:28PM
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I speak from experience on the baking soda recipe. I tried it over a two year period on 50 roses and was very disappointed with the results. If I had money and time to waste, I would grow 4 of the same bush, half sprayed with baking soda, half sprayed with nothing just to prove a point.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 11:53PM
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For black spot, I have had a great deal of luck with applying lime sulphur twice in the winter dormant months. It kills the fungus. I wouldn't try it now though, it will defoliate the rose bush and possibly damage it.

There is a web site that sells predatory nematodes for thrips. They also list places that would carry ther products in your local area. see the link below

As far as Garden's Alive - I've bought their 50 lb. bags of kelp meal for years. They are the cheapest around. Their rose food is good too, although I no buy mine locally through the rose society.


Here is a link that might be useful: Nature's Control

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 8:48PM
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