It goes without saying that if you grow, you will at some point deal with garden pests. As the seasons change, so do the pests, but with a little knowledge you can safely figure out ways to keep your plants healthy and looking great
Before you go running to the store to find something to spray around consider that an ounce of prevention is a big part of the cure. Preventative methods are safe, usually inexpensive and do an excellent job of preventing large infestations.
Step No. 1, choose the right plant for the right place. It sounds so simple, but in our quest to grow what we like, we sometimes fail to follow through with this one. For example, don't grow a shade-loving plant in full sun, or vice versa.
Grow healthy plants. Avoid stressing your plants by not providing adequate light, water or nutrients. Often you can correct growing conditions by providing good soil drainage, irrigation, and nutrient supply.
One plant that seems to suffer from a variety of pests is the beloved rose. Aphids, beetles, root rot or fungus, bacterial canker, black spot, botrytis, cane borers, caterpillars, mildew, leafhoppers, rose gall, nematodes, the list goes on and on. But we gardeners are a hardy lot. Don't let the long list of pests and diseases discourage you - you may never experience any of these issues with your roses.The best defence against all pests and disease is growing a healthy plant in the correct conditions.
If you want to grow and enjoy roses, you can start by choosing a variety that is disease resistant, and that is known to grow well in this area. Talk to people who are already growing roses, and look for well-known varieties such as David Austin, Rosa rugosa and species roses.
The next important step is growing your roses in the correct conditions. I can't tell you how many clients I see suffering from a host of problems with their roses, and the easiest remedy is usually re-planting them in the correct spot.
Roses need sun. This can sometimes be a tall order in Squamish gardens, but if you don't have at least four to six hours of sun per day during the growing season, then perhaps roses are not for you. There are, however, more shade tolerant (they still need sun, people) roses like Ballerina, New Dawn, Rosa glauca, Sweet Chariot, Blanc Double de Courbet, etc. Do a little research.
Roses need good air circulation. That means they do not like the area around them to be heavily planted. Roses are not a good understory plant. Try to water your roses early in the morning, as opposed to late evening. Watering in the morning gives the rose time to dry and reduce leaf-borne diseases. Also, do not mulch over the crown of the rose. These two simple steps will help reduce a raft of problems like botrytis, root rot and mildew.
Blackspot is one of the most common fungal diseases for roses. Blackspot can cause weak growth and stems to die back. It moves at the speed of lightning; a single spore can produce visible colonies in 15 days. You will usually notice that it appears on low-growing foliage as brown or black blotches, sometimes with a yellow ring.
Once you have ensured the cultural growing conditions of the plant are correct (sun, air and water), an easy preventative measure is good hygiene and plant sanitation. Keep the area below the plant free of fallen diseased leaves. Remove all the leaves from the plant before winter to prevent overwintering spores. Clean and sanitize all garden tools after using them on the infected plant. Homemade baking soda based mixtures can be sprayed on the leaves during the growing season.
With a little effort and planning, you can enjoy healthy plants year after year.