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1918: tobacco mulch for midge treatment

Posted by rosyjennifer z 6/7 MD (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 2, 11 at 7:21

Hi. I'm battling midge. : ( Sadly, I poured Merit in the soil around 4 of the most devastated roses, then I read about it's connection to bee colony collapse. Terrible, and I have planted plants specifically to attract bees and butterflies. Argh!!

I started looking in old Rose Annuals to see if there was some forgotten, chemical-free way to treat midge and I found this info in the American rose Annual from 1918 on the treatment of midge at the time by Mr. Koch in Humboldt Park gardens in Chicago. I don't know where I'd get a load of tobacco stems, (ha), but I thought this organic treatment was interesting.

"He found many of the plants affected with mildew and stem-
blight, and, in 1911, rose midge had been introduced with new
plants in the three principal parks. Hybrid Perpetuals and Gruss
an Teplitz were found particularly susceptible to attacks of the
midge. After considerable experimental work, Mr. Koch adopted
mulching four inches deep with tobacco stems. It is applied
after the first summer hoeing, about mid-June, and spaded
under after frost in autumn. Where the mulch becomes thinned
or shifted in the course of the summer, additional applications
are made. This, he found, prevents hibernation of the pest.
Last summer but few larvae and few injuries were found. For
the greater security of other varieties, it was found necessary to remove Gruss an Teplitz from Douglas Park entirely in 1915."

Any thoughts, info, or ideas on this method? Should I start growing tobacco? ; )


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: 1918: tobacco mulch for midge treatment

It would be very expensive, but you could mulch around the base with chewing tobacco.

I also read one of those Jerry Baker cures where he made tobacco tea. Basically soaking chewing tobacco in boiling water until you get a brown stinky brew. It's supposed to be good for preventing a variety of insects and is used as a spray. I don't know how well it would work on midge, but I doubt it would cause harm.

Don't know how much that helps... but I tried. :)

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