Help!! There Are Holes in My Roses!

Budworms:  This Bud is NOT for You

What is a budworm? You will know the damage when you see it.  If your buds and blooms are full of holes, you have been visited by budworms. These critters can damage a whole lot of blooms in a short time so it is important to learn a little more about them and how we can rid our roses of them.

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Attack of the Japanese Beetles!

Beetles… Beetles… and More Beetles…
There’s nothing like a leisurely walk through a rose garden in full bloom.  Vivid colors and a sweet rose fragrance beckon you into a garden alive with romance and Japanese beetles…WAIT!  WHAT?  There are few things that will frustrate the home rosarian more than Japanese beetles.  So what are we to do?
Before you head out into your garden with your handy flame thrower, let’s take a quick look at some options for keeping these unwelcomed garden guests under control.
Option 1: 
Cut your blooms early and bring them inside!
How easy is that!  Japanese Beetles are drawn to color and fragrance, so if the color and fragrance are in your home instead of your garden, the Beetles will head elsewhere to find sustenance!  One thing to remember when cutting your blooms early is to make sure the sepals have fallen; otherwise you will have a beautiful bud, which never opens, sitting in a vase until it droops into oblivion.  So break out all of your vases and get ready to arrange to your heart’s content!
Option 2: 
Hand collecting the Beetles

Ew!  I know!  Just keep in mind they don’t bite!  Head out early in the morning when the beetles are sluggish.  (They are probably hungover from all of the sweet roses they noshed on the day before… jerks.)  Hold a jar full of soapy water under the bloom and shake the beetles off into the jar.  The soap breaks the surface tension of the water so the beetles drown.  I know it seems gruesome, but your plants will be skeletonized if you do nothing!  So keep that in mind! 


Option 3: 
Japanese Beetle Killer
(Chemicals such as Sevin, Bonide, Etc.)

This one is pretty self-explanatory right?  You spray the chemical and the bugs go away.  To an extent this is true!  However, the spray does not prevent Japanese Beetles, it merely kills the ones that are already chowing down on your bushes!  This is a good option if you are squeamish about touching the beetles, but you have to be consistent with spraying!

Option 4: 
Milky Spore

Milky spore is a soil dwelling bacteria that infects the beetles in their larval stage.  Even though you cannot SEE the Japanese Beetles when they are in the larval stage, they are still underground feasting on your grass roots!  While applications of Milky Spore will decrease the number of grubs that survive in your yard, if your neighbors are not treating their yards, it can be fruitless! 

Options to Avoid!!

I know it is tempting to place one of the Japanese Beetle bag traps in your yard, but resist the urge!  It does such a great job of luring beetles to it, that it will attract even more beetles into your yard!  Just think about it!  If you are trying to get the color and fragrance out of your garden in order to discourage the beetles from devouring your garden, why would you place a colorful bag with a floral lure to draw them back in?  Now if you could convince your neighbor to hang one in their yard…well… you get the idea! 

Things to remember!
Japanese Beetles emerge from the ground in June and they only live 30-45 days above ground.  While the beetles can be spotted anytime between June and October, the main “season” lasts only six weeks. It may seem like an eternity if your roses are being devoured, but have hope!  Your roses will grow back!
Home Rosarians Unite!

Squeamish about touching the Japanese Beetles with your bare hands?
Buy a pair of Gripper Gloves
we will ship them to you for
Enter the coupon code “SHIPMEGLOVES” at checkout to receive your exclusive discount!
(Offer ends June 30, 2013)

Buggin’ Out this Summer

Buggin’ Out this Summer


Ah, summer.  Time to hit the sand and surf and bask in the sun.   Ha, the insects that like your roses are thinking the same thing!  So what’s a rose gardener to do about it?  There are really two choices: tolerate or eliminate. 
Ask yourself first what is your tolerance level.   If there are only a few wayward Japanese beetles flying around and they aren’treally bothering your roses, then is it a priority to eliminate them?  However, if there are literally dozensswarming the rose garden having themselves a weekend long kegger in your backyard, then you might want to eliminate them. 
Japanese beetles begin as grubs in the soil, feeding mostly on the roots of lawn grass.  When they mature and emerge from the ground as beetles, they feed on our gorgeous roses and a variety of other ornamental plants.  They are also doing their mating at this time, so that weekend kegger has just turned into serious debauchery. 
There is more than one way to tackle this particular pest.  A product called Milky Spore has been identified as a disease of the larval stage, or grub stage, of the beetle.  This bacterium, developed by the USDA, is available in powder form to be used on the lawn while the beetles are grubs.  It can take many, many years of repeated applications in order to decrease the population. 
The more popular way to tackle the beetles is by spraying them when they are adults feeding on your plants in summer.  And while there are a variety of sprays available we recommend Bonide’s Japanese Beetle Killer. 
We already have the beetles on our radar here in our ServiceDepartment at Witherspoon.  The many years of experience dealing with beetles has engrained a mindset of anticipation of their arrival across the state.  We’ll be using different products in our spray tanks that aren’t available to the homeowner, making our visits to our customers’ gardens the most effective possible. 
By the way, we do not recommend the use of the typical “beetle traps”.  They contain pheromones that actually attract more beetles to come hangout in your backyard; and if you’ve already decided that your yard is not a beetle playground, then you don’t want to put those traps out. 
Another troublesome pest of roses in summer is thrips.  They are troublesome because they are so small and they get into the rose bud before the bud even opens up!  This poses an even greater challenge for us as Rose Care Technicians in our customers’ gardens because we simply cannot penetrate the buds with our spray like the thrips can. 
Thrips are in the buds because they are seeking that sweet moisture inside the flowers.  This causes the flowers to become dried out and distorted leaving you without beautiful blooms. 
It can be quite a frustrating experience having thrips in the rose garden.  They’re much like the biting no-see-ums on the irritation scale…you can see (or feel) the damage, but can scarcely see them to stop them.  

However, we use some good products in our tanks against them!  Hopefully with all the wonderful rains we’ve had lately their populations won’t be quite as high as we’ve seen in year’s past.
In our last post from the Service Department we mentioned briefly about spider mites and the use of predatory mites against them.  Spider mites are quite destructive and leave the plants in a stressed and weakened state.  Their life cycles have such a rapid rate of maturity from the time they hatch to the time they are mature to reproduce. 

A female can be mature enough to reproduce in as little as 5 days! 
The image here is quite an extreme case of spider mite damage on a rose.  Our customers and technicians have seen cases as bad as this.  Hot, dry weather is the preferred environment for spider mites.  They stay on the undersides of the leaves, creating webs of protection against predators.

 In Conclusion
Our efforts in reduced insecticide use and the introduction of the predatory mites in our customers’ gardens have shown signs of success!  We hope to continue the use of predatory insects even against other pests such as thrips.