Ways to grow healthy roses without spraying

strawchicago(zone 5a)September 18, 2012

Disease is subjective to type of soil and fertilizer used. Check out this abstract: "Contrasting Soil pH Effects on Fungal and Bacterial Growth � 1 by Department of Microbial Ecology, Lund University, Sweden .2. Soil Science Department, Rothamsted Research, UK. ABSTRACT "The influence of pH on the two principal decomposer groups in soil, fungi and bacteria, was investigated � The growth-based measurements revealed a fivefold decrease in bacterial growth and a fivefold increase in fungal growth with lower pH."

My last house 1/2 hour away: acidic soil mulched with acidic pine park - the worst black spots on roses despite frequent spraying.

My current house: alkaline soil, next to a limestone quarry, with well-water high in lime, mulch with horse manure (has lime). My water is alkaline, pH of 8 and my soil pH is 7.7. Lime is alkaline and also a natural fungicide. I don't spray, but had 10 clean Austin roses last year, and again with 38 clean roses this year (hybrid teas, Austin, Romanticas, and floribundas).

This year I did some experiments: I put Hollytone fertilizer (same as Rosetone, except with sulfur). Four roses applied with Hollytone broke out in blackspot, the rest mulched with horse manure are clean. I also dumped coffee ground and rotten tomatoes around Firefighter rose: it broke out in blackspots immediately. In contrast Paul Neyron rose is 100% clean with neutral potting soil, plus alfalfa meal, lime and 45% COMPOSTED pine-bark (has tannin, a natural fungicide).

Below is my healthy Paul Neyron rose, taken in 70% humidity and prolonged rain, despite rain water being acidic with pH of 5 to 5.6. Paul Neyron is known for very blackspot-prone. I don't spray.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paper on fungal growth and lower soil pH

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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I visited 2 rose parks recently: Cantigny with over 1,000 bushes - blackspots are bad this year despite their spraying. Afterwards I visisted a small rose park next to a horse ranch and was amazed at how clean and lush their roses are. Potassium is needed to fight diseases, strengthen stems, bloom production, and deepens color. Horse manure is highest in potassium, next is almonds & other nuts, then banana peels. Per University of Kentucky's data on Organic Fertilizers and Composts for Vegetable Transplants: Potassium in cow manure is 191.7 ppm, in composted worm casting is 1,751 ppm, and most in horse manure at 3,476 - compared that to 82.6 ppm in MetroMix 560. One poster in Roses Forum reported mulching roses in pots with banana peels helped with blackspots. Earthco. that tested my soil reported that 1/3 soil tested are deficient in potassium.

Below is my 2nd-year Golden Celebration, a yellow Austin rose that's very black spot prone. You can see it's base quite healthy, and the yellow wooden post at corner to support the bush, which becomes 5' x 6' in partial shade. This picture is taken today, September 18, after all day & all night rain:

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Very interesting, Strawberryhill. Thank you! I have been long blessed to grow roses in climates where fungal issues haven't been extreme. In the mid Southern California desert, deep horse manure mulches on the naturally alkaline adobe/alluvium, with highly alkaline water, the roses grew amazingly well and were, for the most part, extremely healthy. There have been periods of increased fungal problems and specific roses which have proven unhealthy in these conditions, but most, most of the past thirty years, avoiding chemicals and using copious horse manure mulches has proven extremely successful here.

From 1989 through 2007, that was my practice in my old Newhall garden which contained over 1,200 roses of virtually all types and breeding lines. I found the second line of disease defense to be shovel pruning. Those which wanted to live and perform well there were encouraged. Those which proved themselves uncooperative, either went to other gardens or into the trash. You really CAN "cure diseases in your garden". All it really requires is a good, sharp shovel! Kim

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 2:15PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Kim, you grew 1,200 roses? That's amazing, I have under 50 roses and see my water-bill shot up this hot summer. I can see why you devote yourself to breeding roses which are drought-tolerant, disease resistant, and smell good too.

NOTE: I don't recommend anyone grow Paul Neyron nor Golden Celebration as posted above. They are the most disease-prone roses, and unless you mulch with horse manure or have specialty-blend soil with composted pine, lime, and gypsum - they won't be healthy. Paul Neyron was bred 1869 and Golden Cel. was bred in 1992 - both are old roses.

One way to grow healthy roses without spraying is to grow recently bred disease-resistant roses, such as Annie Laurie McDowell, bred by Kim Rupert 2001. Annie L. McDowell blooms at the expense of growth, likes heat, free of blackspots, rust, and mildew. It's small in zone 5a and can be grown in a pot. It smells better than my 15 Austin roses and other strong fragrant roses. Having Annie L. McDowell is like smelling lilac and lavender all summer long. See picture below:

Kim Rupert also breeds Lynnie, as tough as Knock-out, but blooms more, and more drought-tolerant. I put Hollytone, or acid fertilizer on both Lynnie and Austin rose "Eglantyne". Eglantyne broke out in horrible blackspots, but Lynnie broke out in blooms instead. She has more blooms than leaves now. Lynnie is a landscape rose that blooms well in partial shade, disease-free, very mildew-resistant, and set beautiful hips for the fall. It's in my no-water garden. See Lynnie rose below, taken after all-night rain.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 4:36PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

The picture of Lynnie rose above shows mildew tall Summer Phlox perennial leaves at the lowest right corner. Everything in that no-water bed is mildewed, except Lynnie, Knock-out, and Kordes Flower-Carpet roses.

Besides being disease-free, Lynnie rose is almost thornless (90% smooth), and Annie Laurie McDowell rose is 100% smooth, zero prickles, with pretty leaves like a tropical plant. See picture below:

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Great pics, Strawberryhill, wonderful colors to the blooms.

I think growing roses organically is both easy and fun. Roses get blackspot and drop their leaves here, however they grow well and bloom well. Blackspot does not diminish vigor or hardiness.

Good soil creates an environment where roses make strong garden plants, even with blackspot present in the garden.

I've found that roses thrive on organic fertilizers and topdressings.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 10:30AM
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amerique2(7b TN)

This is so interesting. I live in Memphis where the humidity is HIGH. I would really prefer not to spray for blackspot, even using organic concoctions, if I can treat it by other methods. Strawberryhill, your blooms and foliage are spectacular! What I aspire to grow. I have a friend who has hundreds of roses and is spraying constantly for blackspot. Seems like it takes up most of her time. Her roses do look wonderful, however. Just not what I want to spend my time doing, nor adding chemicals to my yard.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:50AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Amerique2:

Thank you for caring for the environment. It's good to test your soil pH, to see if it's acidic, neutral, or alkaline to find the best organic approach.

Thank you for your positive feedback. I got shot down repeatedly in the Rose Forum by folks who advocate Bayer Spray, no matter how many research links I posted. That's bullying and suppressing the truth. I'm glad that I have freedom of speech here in Organic Rose Forum.

Below is the procedure that I wrote to get your soil pH using $1 of distilled water, and 50 cents of red cabbage. It's more accurate than pH meter, since even the $200 pH meter need re-calibration to be accurate.

Red cabbage pH testing works the same as litmus test, except it has wider range of colors, and more accurate, since it allows soil elements to soak and interact with the pH-indicator. See link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Cheapest way to test soil pH using red cabbage

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, May 27, 13 at 14:29

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 12:29PM
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This is fun for me. Listen people..I am no scientist..but I did decide that I did not want to spray poisons to kill the insects. I live by a greenbelt and enjoy the bugs. When I started the rose garden in a raised planter in the hottest side of the garden I added lots of rose planting mix, manure, mulch, gypsum, and lime. I was always digging something into the dirt. I fought BS and removed some weaker roses. I think three years ago I used a dormant spray on my roses and wettable sulfur. I am in year 4 of my rose garden. I pruned late..and did not fertilize as I got busy. To my amazement my oldest roses look great. Yes the rose slugs are arriving and I will sit out there soon and pick them off..but I feel quite good about not using much of anything and they look great. I could not tell you what my soil PH is..I do have some moss growing around some of the roses in the wetter part of the garden and I am going to use some lime. But anyway..I SO BELIEVE that if you give them a good soil, and don't push them too hard the first few years to perform they will mature and be great. I think our culture is too much in a hurry. I have a few Austins and they look great. I think using chemicals creats a need for more chemicals and you end up spending all this money and it isn't needed. BUT my two own root Double Delights look like hell. They are in pots. I am going to yank me. Give me a less pretty rose than DD that will grow and be happy without spraying and I am there.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:39PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi zyperiris: You are in Seattle, home of rainy climate, and have great roses, grown organically? Congratulations, I admire you. Double Delights like it alkaline. I have two in the pots, and they are happy with my tap water, pH 8.

Zyperiris, you are right to give lime where moss is. Moss means acidic soil. My Mom's lawn in MI are full of moss. Both gypsum (calcium sulfate), and lime (calcium carbonate) release calcium. Gypsum is best for alkaline soil, lime is best for acidic soil. Calcium helps with balling and botrytis (browning of petals).

Good soil, and less chemicals is the key to healthy plants. Below is the base of Austin rose Evelyn, blooms well in my alkaline clay:

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 10:34

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:20PM
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So perhaps the horse manure I have been using has enough lime to ward off the BS? I do have some BS..but it was way worse in past years when I messed with the roses more than I do now..lol. I have some fish fertilizer which I will probably use this year and get some more cheapoh horse manure.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:36PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Zyperiris: Yup, we have cheapo horse manure here, the pile is taller than a ranch house. The manure is on a bedding of recycled wood chips (with mold retardant). The stable in my zone 5a also used lime to deodorize the stall in cold weather. Lime is a fungicide.

My neighbor doesn't use horse manure and she has clean hybrid teas. Our limestone clay, pH 7.7, discourages black spot germination. Last fall I induced black spots by throwing wet and acidic stuff around a few roses: alfalfa meal (pH 5.7), rotten tomatoes (pH 4), pine park (pH 4.5), wet leaves (pH 4.5 to 7).

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 10:36

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 10:38PM
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Hey friends thanks for sharing this great information about way to growth healthy roses

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    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 1:30AM
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all roses are looking awesome..we will be benefited by sharing this method

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    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:44AM
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Although there are occasional reports of both increasing and decreasing pH, researchers have found that gypsum, which is pH neutral, does not usually change soil acidity.
New Zealand research has found that a 60:40, lime:gypsum mix will raise pH without the sometimes harmful effects (leaching of iron and manganese) of gypsum alone.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 5:03PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Thank you, JAOrganic for the info, much appreciated.

My soil is tested bare adequate in calcium, EarthCo. recommends gypsum. Amazing result for my alkaline clay, pH 7.7 ... immediate green-up of pale roses. A friend with high in calcium, but sodic (salty) soil, also uses gypsum to de-salt her soil.

I found that the granular gypsum (calcium sulfate) applied months ago still gunk up, has NOT dissolved. The SOLUBLE gypsum from Kelp4less greened up my roses immediately. Below are excerpts from link below:

"Research at Texas A & M showed that calcium stimulated ammonium absorption in plants by as much as 100% ... improved nitrogen applied."

"Application of calcium sulfate to silica sands revealed 22% increase in clipping weight of Kentucky bluegrass, and 32% increase in clipping of creeping bent grass the 1st year. Research at Penn State also showed clipping of fescue increased with the use of gypsum in heavy clay".

"Use of water high in bicarbonates cause the grass to turn yellow due to iron chlorosis. Bicarbonates are toxic to root growth causing less root growth and reduced nutrient uptake. Calcium sulfate reacts with the bicarbonates, typing them up, and increase calcium availability.

"If the pH is above 8, calcium sulfate will lower the pH by reducing the level of carbonates and bicarbonates. The sulfur in calcium sulfate will increase uptake of iron, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus."

Here is a link that might be useful: Gypsum to counter-act alkaline tap water

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Hi, Strawberryhill,
love all of your healthy roses without spraying, if only I have one rose, would be easy to care for, I firmly believe that nature show us organic methods to discover, and prevention rather than waiting till sick to seek plant doctor, this morning Peace smiles happy & the Endeavour has the coral color I admire, no spraying, both smell wonderful, perfect early in the morning.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 3:57PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi seaweed: What a perfect combo: I love the nice-orange of the Endeavor, and the wondrous color of Peace hybrid tea. I'm enchanted with Peace beauty. When we were kids in Michigan, a kind Baptist couple gave me and my 8 older sisters roses and sweet rolls every Sunday.

The old man wrapped his Peace rose in wet towel & plastic bagged for us. It smelled wonderful to me. I think about the old couple when I see Peace rose.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 4:26PM
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this morning, Lasting Love shows me the healthy shining leaves & sweet fruity scent from her rosy smile that just made my day, hope you all can smell it, feel so blessed!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:03PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Thank you, seaweed, for that great pic. of Lasting Love rose. The color is very cheerful ... it has the perfect red-shade that I love ... and the foliage is so pretty and glossy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 9:36AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I found this interesting quote from Olympia Rose Society in PNW, under the phosphorus section, see link below:

"Avoiding practices that discourage mycorrhizal fungi helps too, such as fungicide sprays that drip onto the ground, frequent soil tilling, and use of super triple phosphate."

Here is a link that might be useful: Olympia Rose Society on Fertilizing

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 10:39AM
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