Tag Archives: pests

PicMonkey Collage (1)

10 quick tips on how to look after roses


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In part one, I went into detail about how I at RS Gardening Services would go about planting a clients rose.
Here in part 2 I will tell you how to care for roses through the spring to the winter.

How to Care  for  your  roses  in  spring

Spring is when the season starts to get busy .with the first shoots appearing on roses.
If these shoots are left to grow they will make the Rose look very unsightly indeed.

Plus the fact that :-

  • (a) The branches will rub against each other and cause cankerous growth.
  • (b) The center will be overcrowded and thus stop the vital air flow to the plant.
    Leading to an infection of Black Spot and other pathogens to infect the plant.
  • (c) Cause of the large amount of branches your roses will only produce small flowers instead of large one .
  • (d) And finally it weaken the stability of rose itself as it becomes top-heavy

So pruning them right down is essential if you want good healthy roses.

How to prune your roses

When Pruning roses its essential you use a good quality secateurs
I prefer the  By pass  ones as they cut cleanly than the others that seem to me any way to squeeze the stems.
Sharp ones don’t snag the stem and leave an scraggy end.

Bypass  secs

Should  the   stem  be  too  thick  to  cut  with  these  use  the  same  bypass  Loppers  to  and   a  good  tree  saw for  larger   trunks

I always  carry  these  tools  with  me  cause  I  never  know  when  ill  be  needing  them

Loppers       Pruning  saws

There  are  three  things  that  you  should  be  aware off  when  pruning  rose

  • There  are  three  different  types  of  rose  that  need  the  same  different  ways  of  pruning  these  are  :-
  1. The  floribunda  like  the  name  suggest   “floribunda”  is  latin  for  Flora-Flowers &  bunda –  many   ie  many  flowers.

These  flowers  are  small  but  are  very  vibrant and  only  need  to  pruned    very  lightly    ie  I  usually  prune  these   to  three   buds  from  the  top  just  to  keep  the  shape  as  they  can   become  untidy

Florabunda roses

This  picture  is  an  exception  here  the  rose  has  been  pruned  not  quite  hard  back  but  just  about  the  size  to  get  these   blooms

Remember  the  harder  you  prune  the  less  number  of  flowers  you  will  make.

A  process  of  trial  and  error  is  always  at  play  when  you  prune  these  roses .  If  its  too  short  this  year  try  pruning  it  a  bit  higher  up  next  year  or  visa  versa

  • (2)  Standards

When  pruning  standards    the  first  thing  is  think  of  is  shape   so  like  the  floribunda   a  very  light  pruning  to  keep  it  symmetry if  its  a  bush  type

With  other  standards  you  have  to  think  do  i  want  more  or  little  flowers  on  the  bush. In  case  of  My  clients  its  always  bigger  and  better  blooms  so  a  hard  pruning  like  the   other  varieties  are  needed.

For  normal  roses  I  prune  them  quite  hard  down  to   two  or  three  out facing  buds  from  the  bottom  or  even  down  to  one  out  facing  bud  if  its  old  wood.

The  basic  rule  for  pruning  is  to  keep  to  the  what  i  call  the  3ds

  • Cut  out  any  dead
  • Diseased
  • Dying  branches    first
  • Then  concentrate  on  the branches  that  are
  • Inward  pointing  to  the  center  of  the  bush   to  improve  ventilation
  • Always  cut  with  a  slant  –  as  the  diagram   shows  bellow  this  helps  water  to  run  off  and  not  rot  the  shoots

Don’t  be  afraid  to  prune  them  quite  hard  they  can withstand  any  harsh  treatment

pruning  cuts


Now  that  you have  pruned  your  roses they  will  need  a  good solid  feed  to  keep  them healthy. This  is  done  by  a  good   decomposed  compost  around  the  base  of  the  of  the  roses. (  I  prefer  this  way  as  i  experienced  in  my  trials  of  different  products  that  some  fertilizers  have  a high  content  of   nitrogen  which  produce  sappy  growth.

on  the  other  hand  too  much  organic  matter  can  lock  in  nitrates.  so  a  careful  balance  is  needed.

More  details  can  be  found  in  the  following  blog  on  mulches     If  the  clients  got  any  handy   I  prefer  to  use  green  waste  from  the  recycle  places   since  they  don’t  carry  any  weeds.

But  if  all  that  fails  normal  organic  matter  from  there  compost  heap  mixed  with  a  special  blend  of  J bowers   fish blood  and  bone   fertilizer  or  Vitax Q4



When applying a mulch always leave a gap around the stem so you can water around the base of the plant

Winter  Pruning

The  only  purpose  for  winter  pruning  is  to  reduce   the  wind  rock  on  the  rose and  remove  and  dead,diseased and  dying  branches  . So  ideally  the  rose  should  be  only  cut  down  by  half  to  outward  facing  bud.

And  with  anything  else    all  branches  should  be  burnt  in   a  incinerator  to  avoid  decontamination  of  the  soil. AS  its  this  time  of  year  when  the  weather  damp  that  Black  Spot  spores  begin  to  spread

I hope  you  found  this  of  good  use   and  informative  in  part  3    Ill  will  look  into    Pest  and  Disease  control  of  Roses .

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Chemical Management

English: A sign warning about pesticide exposure.

English: A sign warning about pesticide exposure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Health and  Saftey  Warning

User habits surveys for 2007 and 2010 indicate that gardeners don’t always use, store and dispose of pesticides correctly. If you use pesticides, you are responsible for using these chemicals correctly and effectively. We must keep our gardens and allotments safe for children, pets and wildlife.


When I  was  working  for  Lambeth Council  back  in 1980  all  the  employers  had  to  pass  a  strict  pesticide course  lasting  a  year  this  was  a  tough  course    but  it  made  you  aware  of  the  dangers  of  the  product  and  how  to  safety  apply  it.

But  looking  on  the  prospective  of  the  member  of  the  public  these  rules  no  longer  apply  as most  products  you  buy  claim  to  safe  to  the  environment if  you  follow  the  instructions  to  letter

But  with  this  scare  of  slugs  pellets  and  weed  killer  getting  into  our  water  I  don’t  think  the  news  is  getting  across

So  I’ll tell  you  how  to  apply  herbicides  or  pesticides  safely

  • Read  the  Label  (  I  know  it  obvious  &  that  you  think  you  know  it  all  but  you  don’t)  How  many  of  you  put  weed killer  down   then double  dose  the  plant  again . This  is  all  wrong  the  formulation  is  worked  out  in  the  lab.  for  maximum  effect  and    by  double  dosing  you  are  probably  increasing  the  salinity  of  the  soil.
    description of  pesticide  label

    description of pesticide label


  • Calibrate  –  What  I  do if  using  a  sprayer is to  fill  up  the  water  with  water  and  go  over  the  plant   or   ground  first   making  sure  that  plant  is  soaked  ie  beginning dripping  or  that  ground   is  covered  with  spray .

I  then  see  how  much  water  i  used  and  then  do  a  simple  division  to  find  out  how  much  chemical  i  actually  use  use all  the  instructions  say  4 cap  full  to   1 litre  or  1  gallon  of  water

  • When  using  any  chemical  always  use  PVC  gloves   these  are  cheap  and  better  than  latex  gloves  that  can  rip  and  allow   the  chemical  to  get  in  touch  with  your  skin
Red  Pvc  gloves

Red Pvc gloves

Note  the  tight  cuffs  around  the  wrist  this  makes  sure  that  nn  drips  get  on  to  your  hands

  • When    mixing  the  chemical  put  in  the   some  water  first    then  add your  chemical ( Some  products  have  it  all  ready  made  up  if  so  skip this  )  and  keep  on  stirring  it  until  it  dissolves then  top  up with  the  rest  of  water  mixing  it  again .By  doing  this   you  have dissolved  and  mixed  up  all  the  chemicals
  • If  the there  a  slight  breeze  or  wind  blowing  either  wear  a  mask  or  try  not  to  spray  into  the  wind .(  Note  chemical  spray  can  carry  in  the  wind  for  miles  without  you  knowing  and  with  out  a  mask  you  likely  to  get  some  on  your  mouth   )
  • Although  there  are  organic  or  biodegradable products  that  claim there  are  safe  I  always  veer on  the  side  of  caution

How  to  calibrate  your  sprayer 

The single most asked question in pesticide application is: “How much do I put in a knapsack?”

The answer is that it depends on the calibration of your sprayer. In short, how many square metres one sprayer full of water + pesticide will cover.

It is important that the correct amount of pesticide is applied per square metre, the amount of water much less so.

An  Professional Knapsack sprayer

An Professional Knapsack sprayer

As every sprayer has a different capacity, different nozzles with higher or lower output, a different operator who works at a different speed and pumps at a higher or lower pressure, calibration is the only answer. Here is one simple way to do it:

1. Measure exactly one litre of water into an empty sprayer and prepare it for spraying.

2. On a dry hard surface where you can see the spray wet it, walk forward, continually spraying as you would normally operate until the sprayer is empty. Measure how many square metres you have covered. Let us assume that this might be for instance, 20 square metres.

3. If your sprayer is a 15 litre model you multiply its normal capacity (15) x 20 (area one litre covered) = 300 square metres. This is the area that a whole knapsack will treat.

4. To work out how much pesticide to measure into the sprayer is now very easy. Look at the application rate on the product label.

eg. Roundup ProBiactive is 5L (=5,000ml) per Hectare (10,000 sq. metres)

5. To calculate how much to measure into your sprayer:

For example: 300 (Area that one sprayer full will cover) x 5,000 (Pesticide application rate per hectare in millilitres) / 10,000 (One hectare in square metres) = 150 millilitres

amateur sprayer

Start  your  spraying

  1. Working  up  and  down  the  plant   making  sure  that  both  surfaces  of  the  leaves  are  well  coated  and  started  to  drip
  • Always  spray  first  thing  in  the  morning  this  is done for several reasons ;-
  •   to  avoid  any  harm  to  the  pollinating  insects
  • and  also  the  leaves    spores  will  be  fully  opened
  • The  plant  has  time  to  recover   after  the  spray    and  the  leaves  will  be  dry
  1. Avoid  spraying  any  chemicals  near  water

For  Weed  Killer   there  is  one  simple  rule  DO NOT  SPRAY  NEAR  WATER  SURFACES

If  you  miscalculated  and  still  have  some  chemical  left  NEVER  EMPTY  IT  DOWN  THE  DRAIN

Storing  Chemicals 

  • After you have used a pesticide, make sure that the packaging is tightly closed or sealed to avoid spillage.
  • Store pesticides in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets.
  • Take particular care to store slug pellets safely to avoid accidental poisoning of children and pets – particularly dogs.
  • Garden sheds and greenhouses are not ideal for storing pesticides as they can get very hot in summer or cold in winter. Pesticide products are best stored at an even temperature.
  • If you store it carefully, any remaining pesticide will be effective for some years to come. You can check whether it is still legal to use by using  there  database

Concentrated pesticides that have been diluted and stored may not work as well when you next use them. It is also illegal to store pesticides that are unlabelled and not in their original container for safety reasons. Remember to only dilute enough for that day’s use.

Disposing  of  Chemicals

  • Whether you’ve diluted it or not, never pour pesticides down a drain or any other water drainage system (e.g. sink or toilet) because of the risk of contaminating water and harming wildlife. You could face prosecution.
  • Pesticide containers that have held concentrated product (i.e. requiring dilution before use) should be rinsed three times adding the washings to the final spray solution. The empty container can then be placed in household waste.
  • Empty pesticide containers that have held Ready-to-Use product (i.e. trigger sprays) can be disposed of directly into your household waste.
  • Other empty pesticide containers e.g. bags and cardboard boxes can also be disposed of in your household waste.
  • Check the label for any other advice on disposal of the product or empty container.

Pest and Disease Control


Slug (Photo credit: Marj Joly)



These  Pest  are  the  most  destructive  creatures  to  man  next  to  caterpillars   the  devoid  a  leaf  a  large  leaf  in  a  single  day.

Most  of  us  know  the  tail  tail  signs  of  them  the  slimy  trail  they  leave  behind is  in  fact  the  mucus  they  extract  so  they  can  move  freely  &  also  the  leaf  damage  they  do  plants  not  eating  it  from  the  outside  like  caterpillars  but  from  in  the   side  out.                                                                                                                         Many  of  those  tiny  wholes  you  see  in  soft  leafy  plants  like  lettuce  and  cabbages  are  made  by  slugs  and  snails.

However  there  is  one  slug  that  is  the  predator  of  the  baby  slugs  and  that  is

sluga  testacella  sp . note  its  pinkish body  and  a  external mussel  shaped  shell  on  its back .

The  only  draw  backs  is  that  it  also  eats  worms  too


The best  way to  control the  slug  population  is to  main  a  clean environment.removing  any  thick  slabs  of  stones  which  they  can  hide  under.

Mowing  in  the  evening  also  restricts  them  as  they  prefer  long  grass  to  hide  from  the  birds  and  other  predators


Cultural  control 

  • As  i  said  above  keep  your  garden  clean  as  possible
  • the first step is to eliminate, as much as possible, all places where they can hide during the day. Boards, stones, debris, weedy areas around tree trunks, leafy branches growing close to the ground, and dense ground covers such as ivy are ideal sheltering spots
  • Locate vegetable gardens or susceptible plants as far away from snail and slug hiding places as possible. Reducing hiding places allows fewer snails and slugs to survive
  • Choose snail-proof plants
  • Go on  a  Slug  and  snail  hunt    picking  them  off
  • Set  simple  traps  like inverted  melon  rinds  and  cardboards  where  they   take  shelter
  • lay  beer  traps  like  the  slug  pubs  i  mentioned  bellow
  • Now  you  can  create  barriers  with  a  copper  ring  that  give  off  a  electric  shock  when  a  slug  or  snail  passes  over  it                                   If you  do  try  this  make  sure  all  the  snails  are  picked  off  first  from  the  compost .  then  apply  a   clear  tarp.  sheet  over  the  compost  and  leave  out  in  the  sun  the  sun  rays  will  bake  the  earth  and  thus  kill  off  any  eggs
  • putting  down  a  barrier  of  1″  wide  and  3″  thick  can  deter  them  from  crossing  over .  but  saying  that  it  looses  it  effectiveness  as  soon  as  it  becomes  wet


The  first  line  of  attack  is  cultural   Slugs  like  wet  grounds  which  aren’t  all stony.We have  often  seen  dried  up  slugs  on  the  hard  gravel ground  all  swivelled  up  in  hot  weathers   as  they  didn’t  quiet  get  to  safety.

Birds  are  the best  predators  for  slugs  esp  the  thrushes  who  smash  open  the  snails  shell  with  stones


Therefore  leave  tiny  stones  near  where  you  expect  the  slugs  and  snails  live.Go  green  and  try  and  use  a  chemical  that  doesn’t  effect  the  thrushes  population.thrush with  snail

How to attract  thrushes  into  your  garden 

Song Thrushes are ground feeders and they love raisins, sultanas and other fruit including windfall apples, especially in the winter when there are fewer earthworms and snails around for them. Put food on a low table or onto the ground to tempt this impressive songster.

One  tip  if  you  put  fallen  apples  down  by   where  the  snail  and  slugs  live ,blackbirds  and  thrushes  will  feast  on  them   with  the  apples  thus  clearing  the  slugs  for  you

Frogs  and  toads 

frogtoad and  frogs  a  voricious  slug  eaters  esp  toads  as  there  more  amphibious   mamals

These  can  encouraged  by  building  a  pond  or  by   introducing   newts   into  your  existing  one


This  is only  last  result  in  the  biological   list  of  defence.

These  are  tiny  worm  like  organisms  that  feed  on  slugs  from  underground  & are  used  exclusively  by  farmers  in  the  war  against  the  slugs  and  snails

However  there  are  some Nematodes  which  arent  beneficial  to  the  plants  but  eat  at  the  roots  as  well


Copper  bands

mUD9rvGA_cva6orEtsx4_vQThis  is  recent  deterrent    to  deter slugs  and  still  in  its  infancy. When  the slugs  cross  these  bands  they  emit  are  submitted  to  a  electrical  chemical  reaction  that  deters  them.

The  only  draw  backs  is  that  this  product  is  expensive  to  use .But  according  to  some  forums  they  can  be  easily  made  by  stripping   wire   and  copper  cables . Although  they  work  look  the  rings  they  might  be  cheaper  and  produce  the  same  result .

These  rings  or  coils  are  placed  around   crops  and  flowers  with  the  both  ends  touching



Slugs  and  snails  don’t  like   a  rough  surface  as  it  scratches  there  underbelly  so  introduce  loose  gravel  around  effected  plants Also  now  you  can  get  the  latest  killer called  diatom earth

Diatom  Earth  is fossilized  earth   containing  millions  of  these  diatoms  minute razor  shell  like  insects  that  have  been   fossilized  over  time  and  made  into  fuller  earth Here when the  slugs  and  snails  move  over  the  earth it dissects into  there  underbelly then exposing  there  waxy  cuticle   layer  leaving  then  dehydrate

Best  method  of  using  fuller  earth  or  use  the  food  Grade     the   others  are  toxic  so  don’t  use  them , is  to  apply it   early  spring  and  till  it  into  the  soil.                                                                                                                                                     Or  as  a  spray   by  following  these  guide  line

add 1/4 lb. DE to a 5

gallon sprayer, then add a quart of warm water containing a teaspoon of flax perma-guard-d21-237x345soap, then top off with water and
mix thoroughly. One part D in 3 to 5 parts of water has also been used. This mixture can be sprayed on trees

and vegetation


This  However  is  only  effective  in  greenhouse  cause  once  the  soil  is  wet  it  looses  its  power . However  you  can  use   crushed  egg shell  outside  and  have  the  same  effect  with out  the  leaching  effect

There  are  off  couse  Slugs  pubs  which  attract  the  slugs  away  from  the  crop  or  plants  but  you  will  need  to  be  able  to  destroy  them  all  if  you  want  to  keep  up  with  them

Diatom earth  in  useHere  in  the  picture  you  can  see  it  just  looks  like  a  white  powder  like  chalk

The  good thing  about  this  is  that    green  &  it  doesn’t  effect  the  food  chain  at  all.Which  is  the  why  the  population  of  thrushes  are  slowly  dieing  out  cause  of  the  toxic  poisons  in  slug  bait

This product  can  be  obtained  from  the Green Gardener as a Ant  killer  & also sold  by RentoKill  for  professional use. But it can  be used as  slug deterrent  also



Slug  Pubs

These  are  getting  popular  as  the  slugs  and  snails  are  attracted  to  the  smell  to  stale  ale  or  yeast  and  water. These  like  other  snail and  slug  baits  are better placed  a  few  inches  away  from  the crop or  plant  cause  it  just  might  decide  to  go  for  the  leave  instead  so  best  not  to  give  them  an  alternative

slug pub This  idea  is  ideal    what  you  do  is  invert  a  plastic bottle  top  inside  the  bottle  and  place  the  bait  or  ale  inside  once  the  slugs  are  inside    they  are  poisoned  and  cant  get  out

thus  preventing  the  poison  from  getting  in  contact  with  the  earth . There  are  two  type  of  chemical  slug  bait  that  you  can  get  on  the  market   here  is  site  that  gives  you  advise  on  what  slug  bait  to  use  http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7427.html

As  the  information  there  is  more  complex