Tag Archives: pests

10 quick tips on how to look after roses

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 cancerous 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 a large number of branches your roses will only produce small flowers instead of large one.
  • (d) And finally, it weakens 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 Bypass ones as they cut cleanly than the others that seem to me anyway to squeeze the stems.
Sharp ones don’t snag the stem and leave a 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 roses, that need to be pruned differently:-
  1. The floribunda like the name suggests “floribunda”  is Latin for Flora-Flowers &  bunda – many ie many flowers.

These  flowers  are  small  but  are  very  vibrant and  only  need  to prune 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 to think of is its shape.

so like the floribunda, a very light pruning is  needed  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 well-decomposed compost around the base of the of the roses. (  I prefer this way as I have experienced in my trials of different products that some fertilizers have a high content of nitrogen which can 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 on 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 Q



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

Autumnal  Rose Care

Their  Show  might  be  over  but  like  one  rosarian  ounce  said

If you give your roses some care during autumn, they will get safely through the winter, coming back healthy, vigorous and full of flowers next year.

So  here  is  how  IDogardening4U  looks  after  your  roses


  •  I  will  dead  them  (  Sometimes  leaving  the  hips  on  depending  on  the  clients  choice  )  So  that  though  they  have  finished  flowering  the  hips  will  add  that  splash  of  colour  to  what  could  be  a  dull  wet  day



  • I  will  pick  off  all  the dead, diseased  foliage on  the  plant  and  around  the  base  of  plants  as it  can  be  splashed  back  on  to  the  plant  when  it  rains



  • I will prune out all  the  dead, diseased and  dying  stems  on  the  bushes  with  a  clean  cut  secateurs



Due to the heavy winds, we get in August to March it is advisable to do a light prune of large leggy branches that will get knocked about.

This may  or  not  leave your  hips  intact


Finally  Ill will  thin  out  the  heads  of  crowns   on  your  standard  roses  as  the  wind  will  in case  cause  them  damage


Winter  Pruning

The only purpose for winter pruning is to reduce the wind rock on the rose and remove any 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 an incinerator to avoid recontamination 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 Pests are the most destructive creatures to Man next to caterpillars they devour a single large leaf in a single day.

Most of us know the tale tale signs of them

The  slimy trail  they leave behind –  Is, in fact, the mucus they extract so they can move  freely

And also the extensive leaf damage they do to the plants –   not eating it from the outside like caterpillars but from in the inside out.                                                                                                                         Many of those tiny holes 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 an external mussel-shaped shell on its back.

The  only  drawbacks are that  it  also  eats  worms  too


The best way to control the slug population  is to maintain 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 to 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 the 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 a beer  trap  like  the  slug  pubs I mentioned  bellow
  • Now you can create barriers with  a copper ring that gives off an electric shock when  as a slug or snail passes over it
  •    another Method is to scorch the earth to prevent the eggs from hatching If you do try this make sure all the snails are picked off first from the compost.  then apply a clear tarp 

    .  the 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 of a layer  of  silica  over  the  ground  can  deter  them  from  crossing  over as  the  sharp  strands  of  shell  pierce  their  underbelly and  they  then  dehydrate
  • but  the  only  disadvantage  that  it loses 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 swiveled up in hot weathers as they didn’t quite get to safety.

Birds  are  the best  predators  for  slugs  esp  the  thrushes  who  smash  open  the snail’s 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 affect 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  voracious  slug  eaters  esp  toads  as  there  more  amphibious   mammals

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 defense.

These  are  tiny worms 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  aren’t  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 are submitted to an electrical chemical reaction that deters them.

The only drawbacks are 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 to look the rings they might be cheaper and produce the same result.

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



Slugs  and  snails  don’t  like   a  rough  surface  as  it  scratches  there  underbelly  so  introduce  loose  gravel  around  affected  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 their waxy  cuticle   layer  leaving  then  dehydrate

The best method of using fuller earth or use the food Grade the others are toxic so don’t use them

you apply it early spring and till it into the soil.                                                                                                                                                     Or as a spray by following these guideline

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 the greenhouse

Because once the soil is wet it loses its power. However, you  can  use   crushed  eggshell  outside  and  have  the  same  effect  without  the  leaching  effect

There  are  off  course  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 is “green”  & therefore it doesn’t affect the food chain.Which  is  the  why  the  population  of  thrushes  are  slowly  dying  out  because  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 gets 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 a 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