321 Spring Rose Care Basics - Diseases and Insects

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

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Show Notes

From now through Mother’s Day, roses will start putting on their first and best show across the country. What do your rose bushes need to get off to a good start in early Spring? Master Rosarian Charlotte Owendyk of the Sierra Foothills Rose Society talks about getting ahead of early spring rose pest and disease problems, before they can do too much damage to those brilliant first blooms. She also discusses the best fertilizers and irrigation systems to use to help thwart pest and disease issues, as well, for your rose bushes in the coming months.

It’s all in Episode 321 of today’s Garden Basics with Farmer Fred - Spring Rose Care Basics

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory, it’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery. Let’s go!

Pictured:  Rose Mosaic Virus Disease (Photo: Gail in Napa)

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Sierra Foothills Rose Society
Sacramento Rose Society
Rose Mosaic Virus (UCANR)
Rose Diseases and Abiotic Disorders (UCANR)
Roses: Insects and Mites (UCANR)
Farmer Fred Rant Blog: Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects
USDA Guide to Japanese Beetles
Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) for Japanese Beetle grubs
Milky Spore for Japanese Beetle grubs

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Show Transcript

GB 321 Spring Rose Care Basics TRANSCRIPT


Farmer Fred  0:00


Garden Basics with Farmer Fred is brought to you by Smart Pots, the original lightweight, long lasting fabric plant container. It's made in the USA. Visit SmartPots.com/Fred for more information and a special discount, that's SmartPots.com/Fred.

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information, you've come to the right spot.


Farmer Fred

From now through Mother’s Day, roses will start putting on their first and best show across the country. What do your rose bushes need to get off to a good start in early Spring? Master Rosarian Charlotte Owendyk of the Sierra Foothills Rose Society talks about getting ahead of early spring rose pest and disease problems, before they can do too much damage to those brilliant first blooms. She also discusses the best fertilizers and irrigation systems to use to help thwart pest and disease issues, as well, for your rose bushes in the coming months.

It’s all in Episode 321 of today’s Garden Basics with Farmer Fred - Spring Rose Care Basics

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory, it’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Potsand Dave Wilson Nursery. Let’s go!


Farmer Fred

We like to answer your garden questions here on the Garden Basics podcast, Gail in Napa. California writes in and says, “Hi, Farmer Fred. I have three tea roses planted in a nice sunny spot with good airflow. I planted them about seven years ago, and one of the roses always has strange colored leaves. They range from yellow to motteled red. It still blooms but the flowers are small. The other two bushes don't have the same problem. And after I did some research, I'm thinking this rose has the mosaic virus, even though I bought it from a reputable nursery. Can you tell if I have this virus? If so, should I destroy this bush? Thank you for your great show. It is extremely helpful.”

Gail, thanks for writing in. And thanks for sending the pictures of what your rose leafs look like. And I'll be posting that picture with today's episode. So let's call in a Master Rosarian and get the lowdown on this mosaic virus. We are talking with Charlotte Owendyk, she is a Master Rosarian with the Sierra Foothills Rose Society. And Charlotte, I've been getting a lot of questions about this from people asking about the funny yellow striations on their leaves, on their roses. And it seems to go back to this virus.



Charlotte Owendyk  1:44

That's correct. The Rose Mosaic Virus, it's yellow or white, it's kind of mottled on the green leaf. The picture is a perfect example of that. And it's funny, it usually exhibits in the spring and the fall; but in the hot weather, it disappears. It gets masked by the green chlorophyll on the plant. So you might think it's gone. But it's not. I think the listener has done an excellent job of figuring out what she has. And she's already come up with the solution because some roses are  affected more by Rose Mosaic Virus than others. And she's saying it's got smaller blooms and less blooms, because of that. She's saying I need to shovel prune, and that's a term used by rosarians, when we want to get rid of a rose plant, we do shovel pruning. She needs to shovel prune. As a rule, I don't have any plants with Rose Mosaic Virus in my garden.

They have not shown how it moves from one plant to another. They haven't found a vector, which could be an  insect that moves it plant to plant. They thought at one time it was caused by pruning, but they couldn't demonstrate that it was caused by pruning. So you know, she has one plant, and she's had it for seven years. And none of the other plants in the area have shown that virus. So that's an indicator, it's not moving due to your pruning process. The other thing they at one time  thought: maybe it's root to root transfer. But they did some tests on that. And they couldn't prove that either. So what is normally done and the University of California Davis had a program where they make sure that because a lot of our roses are on rootstock. They do what is called virus index rootstock. They sell rootstock that is virus free to all the rose growers, and they plant and put the rose that we  want on that root stock. And, therefore you get virus free plants. But sometimes there's a problem. And I don't know when it happens. Like I say, I got a brand new rose and I won't mention who I got it from. It had rose mosaic virus, I mentioned it to the nursery, and I got a replacement. I was lucky enough that it showed before I had a year go by. So sometimes it just shows up. Like I say if it's really hot, you'll never see it. And sometimes it doesn't have it but as the plant gets older, sometimes you see more evidence of it. My recommendation is shovel prune it and get something else. Get a newer variety of Rose plant that is probably more resistant to other diseases and one that you'd like. There's so many good roses on that have been introduced into the market.


Farmer Fred  4:32

What if you really liked the flower on this particular rose? I got an email from one gentleman who said, “Yeah, I've had a rose with the rose virus and I've had it for eight years, but I really enjoy its blooms and I'm keeping it.”


Charlotte Owendyk  4:44

You can do that. A lot of people do that. And since they can't prove how it transfers, it'll be just on that one bush. As I mentioned earlier, some roses can tolerate that virus more than others. They're still pumping out the blooms and they're still growing well. And if that bush wasn't blooming as good and didn't look as healthy, then he probably want to get that get rid of that bush and get another one, you can get the exact same rose. Again, if it's available on the market, it probably will not have the virus at that point. And then you have a good bush.


Farmer Fred  5:18

The University of California talks about the rose mosaic virus. We'll have a link to that page in the show notes. And they say that this virus infects roses through budding, grafting, or rooting cuttings from infected plants. And that roses infected during propagation can be symptomless until after they are planted and begin growing in the landscapes. And a lot of people who grow roses have gotten rather fond of starting new roses from cuttings. It's a fairly easy process. But you really don't want a cutting of a rose that has this virus.


Charlotte Owendyk  5:52

That's correct. Yeah, I got a couple of cuttings starting because I have some bushes that nobody else has at this point and one is called Pink Poodle. And as you know, I have some poodles. But this rose has no virus. I'm a responsible Rosarian.


Farmer Fred  6:09

The University of California also says that virus-infected plants may grow more slowly, produce delayed or fewer flowers, and become more susceptible to frost damage. But the severity of damage varies depending on what kind of rose it is.


Charlotte Owendyk  6:25

Yeah, depends on the variety. Yeah,  it basically reduces the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves. So it's going to be a little of a slower grower. I don't know if other people have noticed this, but if you have a variegated plant versus one that's totally green, or a plant that has a chartreuse coloring versus regular typical green, that plant will grow slower because it has less chlorophyll.  You can plant, let's say, feverfew, which is an herb, it produces Daisy like flowers, you have the gray variety of green leaves, and then you have a chartreuse color. The chartreuse one will be about at least six inches shorter and a little bit smaller in stature than the green one. So that's because it has less chlorophyll. Chlorophyll uses the sun's light and water to produce the carbohydrates, the sugars, the plants needs to grow. So it's less vigorous. And you'll find that in the case with all variegated plants, too, because it has less chlorophyll, it has more white. And let's say it's gray in the leaf. So that's a general rule of thumb. So I want something that's not as big, something that I look to see if  they have a variegated variety. Sometimes  they've done the breeding, and it's still green, and it's slower, and smaller in stature, but sometimes you can do it. And that's nature's way of, of slowing the growth. It's just, it just works that way.


Farmer Fred  7:57

Nature can be tricky, too. The University of California points out that some infected roses exhibit no damage symptoms, and boy, that would be kind of risky.


Charlotte Owendyk  8:07

Well, that's why they have this program where they provide index root stock. What they do is they take pieces of the material, the root, and they actually use an electron microscope, or they probably do something a little bit more sophisticated. Now  at one time that's how they used to do it. And they actually would check to see if there's viruses in the cell.


Farmer Fred  8:31

Gail in Napa also pointed out that yes, she has that yellowing, strange color, but also a red mottled color that you can see in the picture that I posted with this episode. Is that common as well?


Charlotte Owendyk  8:43

It varies with the plant. Yes, you can see that it's  just not normal. You have different colors of leaves.  I've got some plants that the leaves are kind of a ruddy kind of a bronzy reddish, but it's all one color. And these are mottled. That's the key. Or the color is mottled  and it's not the whole leaf.


Farmer Fred  9:06

So, again for Gail, learn that great Rosarian euphemism; shovel prune.


Charlotte Owendyk  9:14

I remember the first time we talked about the term, shovel prune. We shovel prune for various different reasons. Sometimes we don't like the bush, sometimes the bush is not perfect, or sometimes it's a disease magnet. It's sometimes that we didn't realize that bush  we ordered from a catalog has lots of thorns. We don't like lots of thorns, we get rid of the bush. So there's a lot of different reasons.




Farmer Fred  9:39

We have one more question from a listener about their rose. And they wrote in and said, “Over the winter a nasturtium volunteer decided to climb through my Lyda Rose rosebush. My wife likes the way it looks now. I think it might be harming the rosebush and want to take it out. Can you solve this dilemma for us? It really is kind of a nice structure.”


Charlotte Owendyk  9:59

That's beautiful. The picture you sent me  of that nasturtium, it  is almost like a climbing nasturtium. And you can't even see the rose for the nasturtium.


Farmer Fred  10:09

The branches are sticking above the nasturtium.


Charlotte Owendyk  10:13

maybe six inches above. That's all.


Farmer Fred  10:18

I think the owner of the rose also hasn't had a chance to get in there to prune it because of that nasturtium.


Charlotte Owendyk  10:23

That's correct. Well, light is the big factor. In fact, I'm in my dining room and I'm looking outside at a Lyda Rose.  I thought you might have a Lyda Rose.


Farmer Fred  10:31

I do have a Lyda Rose.


Charlotte Owendyk  10:34

Lyda is a fairly large shrub rose, because mine is about four feet, maybe three and a half to four feet tall. I had the same problem but I instead of a nasturtium, I had the Roxanne geranium do that to a shorter stature rose. It was a red rose that only gets about three feet tall and three feet wide. And Roxanne, was which was planted next to the rose, decided to grow up through that rose. Ingrid Bergman's the name of the red rose, a beautiful rose, by the way. I couldn't see the bush and it didn't bloom very much. Because there's a little thing that happens when  you can't see the bush. And all you see is the leaves of the nasturtium or the Roxanne. That means the leaves or the rose are not getting any sunlight or not enough sunlight. And  roses like to be in full sun. And if they don't get full sun, they don't bloom. They don't get enough sunlight. So it gets smothered, so to speak. It's like putting a blanket on top of your rose.


Farmer Fred  11:38

But eventually the nasturtium, I'm sure. will be removed.


Charlotte Owendyk  11:44

And that's fine. What I would probably do since that nasturtium has gone crazy. It seems like it's my understanding some nasturtiums will climb like that, I’d probably remove that one. And at the base, pull it away, do some cleanup on the rose,  open up the center and do some cleanup pruning on that. Then fertilize the rose, and it'll be just fine. And if you want to put in nasturtiums down there, put in a nice variety of nasturtiums. I got some seeds I want to try this year in my yard. Just put them in there and it'll be a nice ground cover, underneath the Lyda Rose and then you'll have the rose. And you'll tell the nasturtium not to do that. Well, actually if you have a climbing nasturtium, let it grow itself somewhere else. Give it a little something to climb up on. It'll be happy.


Farmer Fred  12:33

I have a funny feeling that this rose owner is waiting for this nasturtium to go into decline so he can say to his wife, “I’ll remove this now. The nasturtium is fading away because it's getting too warm.”


Charlotte Owendyk  12:45

Yeah. Well,  they usually die back in the winter.


Farmer Fred  12:50

Around here, nasturtiums can last through the winter.


Charlotte Owendyk  12:53

Yeah they do. My mother had nasturtiums underneath a tree down in Southern California, it was basically a ground cover.


Farmer Fred  13:00

But one way to hasten the decline of the nasturtiums would be to make some snips at the base of the nasturtium.


Charlotte Owendyk  13:05

You got it. Snips will will do the trick. Yeah.


Farmer Fred  13:13

Okay. All right.


Charlotte Owendyk  13:18

You could do a couple snips and just keep a few of the nasturtiums in the Lyda rose. But give the Lyda rose some breathing room, because it's not seen sunshine and it's not happy. I don't know what the foliage looks like underneath it. I'm not quite sure where it is, but it's probably got maybe some mildew on it depending on how wet it is. It may have some black spot, and it's not putting on any blooms. So why have a rose that you basically are not enjoying? Put the nasturtium  on some sort of trellis and don’t let your roses be the trellis, because the rose is not getting any sunshine.


Farmer Fred  13:56

Since you brought it up. Let's talk about other springtime maladies of roses that just might be going on. I mean, when I think of roses in the springtime, the first thing I think about are aphids.


Charlotte Owendyk  14:06

Oh, aphids. I was strolling a neighbor's garden of mine. And  she says, “I haven't seen any aphids”. And as we're walking through her garden - she has 300 Roses - we finally found three or four.


Farmer Fred  14:20

Yeah, but are there any buds on those roses for the aphids to glom on to?


Charlotte Owendyk  14:23

Oh, yeah, there are tons of bugs and tons of fresh new growth. And I haven't seen any aphids in my yard. But I've seen ladybugs already. You know, I have a no-spray garden, and she does too. It’s all between the balance between the predators, the good guys, and the bad guys.


Farmer Fred

Amen to that.


Charlotte Owendyk

Yes. I'm always rooting for the good guys. And I have a hummingbird feeder. I have a Finch feeder. I have a lot of little tiny birds. Do you realize hummingbirds love aphids?


Farmer Fred  14:58

I did not know that.


Charlotte Owendyk  15:01

Yeah, they eat a lot of aphids, it’s part of their protein in their diet. I have a lot of companion plants. Something is always flowering in my garden, the Anna hummingbird in California overwinters here, we don't lose them like some other parts of the country. So you can have hummingbirds year round. Aphids can be born pregnant, you know. If you get the first couple of aphids, you can manage to keep them from exploding. That's what used to happen, we used to spray or we'd use a lot of chemical fertilizers. That's the other thing that a lot of us have, I do not put any chemical fertilizers anymore because it produces a lot of succulent growth which is easier for the various different insects to suck juices out of the cell or do various different things. It's easier for fungus to break through the cell wall and then establish themselves. So I have less disease pressure, I have less aphid pressure than before. It's actually less work and it's kind of nice to see. Occasionally I'll see something and I'll do a  mechanical control for example. We get the rain and  lots of times the best time of year to get Blackspot is when you get a warmer rain in the spring and then that's the time you get some black spot damage. Well, I have three roses. For example, my Julia Child tree roses have a significantly higher  bush part. It is at least three feet above the ground. They don't get any black spot; very seldom do I get black spot up there. But my little miniature roses that are right close to the ground, get black spots. So this year after I prune, I put a layer of fir bark, a soil conditioner that can be used as a mulch, around the drip line of all my roses as I pruned. I don't have any black spot, except for ones I didn't prune or didn't have a chance to put that fir bark around. I feel so proud of myself.


Farmer Fred  17:13

Before we skip to the fungus, black spot,  one more thing about aphids. I know  it works for me and I love to do  this when I see them all clustered on a bud. I love to spray water on them.


Charlotte Owendyk  17:26

Oh yeah, a shower. And wash them down and then all the other things on the ground will gobble them up. Yes.


Farmer Fred  17:33

Now, for the sake of the purists out there, we should point out that when you say “chemical fertilizers”, what you really mean are “synthetic chemical fertilizers”.


Charlotte Owendyk  17:40

Correct. I use organic fertilizer, which is easy. It is fir bark, it's all organic materials. I even use earthworm castings.


Farmer Fred  17:52

And I'll have a link in today's show notes to  one of my more more popular talks, called “Plants that attract beneficial insects”, because it not only talks about the plants that bring in the garden good guys, I have pictures of all the good guys’ life stages. So you can see what a teenage Ladybug looks like. It doesn't look like the adult Ladybug.


Charlotte Owendyk  18:12

Oh, no. It's actually really cool. Like, it looks like an alligator. Exactly. Only more colorful.


Farmer Fred  18:19

Wearing a San Francisco Giants warm up jacket.


Charlotte Owendyk  18:23

Yeah, yeah, it's really cool. Yeah.


Farmer Fred  18:25

The teenage ladybugs, they're the ones that eat aphids.


Charlotte Owendyk  18:27

Oh, yeah. The praying mantis, however, is a weak link in the world of garden good guys (they tend to eat both good guys and well as bad guys). I got the soldier beetles, lacewings, spiders, minute pirate bugs. There's tons of those and like I say, don't forget the hummingbirds.


Farmer Fred  18:44

Yeah, really. I have a list of beneficials for roses: I’ve got  tiny parasitic wasps, minute pirate bug, lacewings, ladybugs, Soldier beetles, which are also called leather wings; Syrphid flies, predacious mites, thrips and spiders.


Charlotte Owendyk  19:00

Yep. They're all good guys. And the thing is, you when you don't spray insecticides and stuff, the good guys keep the bad guys at bay. And there's a balance that occurs. Occasionally, it gets a little bit out of whack. But  I'd like to suggest using mechanical controls, like hosing things off. That works very good for spider mites in the in the heat of the summer because they are underneath the leaves. So I just wash the underside of the leaves, several times during a week or 10 days, and they're gone.


Farmer Fred  19:32

If we're talking about blackspot, that's a fungus and that requires free water to reproduce, which means you don't want to keep your leaves wet.


Charlotte Owendyk  19:40

You got it. Well, the thing is do is water in the morning and Make sure the leaves are dry by nighttime.


Farmer Fred  19:46

Right. And tell the rain to stay away at night.


Charlotte Owendyk  19:50

And we're looking at some rain tonight. I love rain. I do the newsletter for a couple rose societies. And when I have to work on a newsletter, and it's beautiful outside… I'm not happy.


Farmer Fred  20:03

So what do you do for black spot?


Charlotte Owendyk  20:05

After I prune, I'm very religious about taking all the plant material and toss it in the trash can. All the leaves from the previous season, they probably have some black spot spores on it , or it's dropped and  it becomes leaf litter. And that's a source of black spot. I do not do anything for black spot per se, because I'm a no-spray  garden. This year, as I mentioned, I put on the soil  a kind of a light weight mulch around the drip line of  my roses, because I know there's black spot spores in the soil. And when the water droplets hit, it splashes up and that's how it gets infected. I don't have any of that because of that mulch layer. So I figured that was a good mechanical way of dealing with that. If I do and I had a black spot. The reason I did it is I noticed over a couple of years, I kept on saying well, I'll put compost down. Well, I never got time to put  compost down. It was after the rains, and that’s when compost is heavy. So I'm just gonna get some bagged stuff and put that around my roses, as I have black spot. C'est la vie. I know as soon as the temperatures hit 85 here in California, the black spot will disappear because the leaves are dry enough. So I just tough it out. Make sure that  the soil has been enriched enough so the rose plant can put out a whole new set of leaves.


Farmer Fred  21:31

And I would think, too, that those leaves that have black spot or for that matter even rust, you don't want to put in a compost pile, unless you have unless you have a hot compost pile.


Charlotte Owendyk  21:41

Yeah, hot compost. That's the key. You want to try to clean your garden of all the residues, any fungal disease. If you have fungus on the leaves, and you see the evidence of that, you want to get rid of all that debris and put it in your trash cans. Do not put it in your compos, it gets dirty. It has fungal spores on it, the type that infects plants. There's other things that are like that. For example, I shovel pruned a couple of roses that have a bacterial disease and I put it in a plastic bag and I toss it. There's a few other things that you have to do that to, especially with rust.


Farmer Fred  22:18

I mentioned that and rust is usually seen as orange pustules on the underside of the leaves.


Charlotte Owendyk

Pretty cool, long, thick.


Farmer Fred

Yeah, it is. And then that too, is also spread by a water.


Charlotte Owendyk  22:31

Yep. Sometimes if we have a wet autumn, that's when I see it in my yard and I have one rose that gets rust every spring. It's an old garden rose. iI’s just very susceptible. I just pick off the few leaves that have it and throw them in the trash.


Farmer Fred  22:48

There is a problem with roses, a fungal disease that could be a warm weather problem as well. And that's powdery mildew.


Charlotte Owendyk  22:55

Yes. It's water transmitted. And I read up on that, it is interesting. There was a Berkeley professor of plant pathology and he said, it likes a little bit of water on the leaves. But if you hose the leaves - and they have a lot of powdery mildew in the Bay Area - If you host the leaves off before 1030am or so, a lot of the spores that have landed on the leaves won't have time to infect the leaves. You have reduced the amount of powdery mildew you have in your roses. I thought, well that's interesting, but you know, it's so dry here and in the valley. We don't usually have to worry about that.


Farmer Fred  23:30

So if you do live in a humid, moist area, then the one thing you don't want to do is to have your lawn sprinklers hitting the rose plants.


Charlotte Owendyk  23:39

Yes, you're much better off to have drip irrigation system around your roses. Roses like to get a  water shower. They do like that. But the key is to make sure it's dry at night. It's when it's wet for an extended period of time that problems occur.


Farmer Fred  23:57

What is the difference between powdery mildew and downy mildew?


Charlotte Owendyk  24:02

Powdery mildew is more on the surface. And Downy Mildew does get into the leaf itself. And it actually distorts leaves more.


Farmer Fred  24:14

From what I understand about downy mildew, It's got the fruiting bodies on the underside of the leaves, which is how to tell the difference between that and powdery mildew.


Charlotte Owendyk  24:22

Thank you for reminding me. It's been a while, because I have no exposure. You see that in the Bay Area again, right? Where you have  the right temperature and humidity. It needs a fairly warm temperature at night and the appropriate amount of humidity, and we still get it if it's humid at night. It's usually cooler here so we don't see that here much in the valley. Whereas in the Bay Area, the temperature isn't as cold and it's more moist. That's where you see more Downy Mildew. So it's it's really temperature dependent.





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Farmer Fred

Let's get back to our conversation about spring rose care tips with Master Rosarian Charlotte Owendyk. One interesting development that can happen on your rose leaves throughout the spring and summer - and it sends new rose growers into a tizzy - is “what are these half circles disappearing from the leaves of my rose plants? What's going on here?”


Charlotte Owendyk  28:25

You got some form of an artist, a leafcutter bee. Yes, they could have circles that perfectly circles. I think that's so cool. I'm cool with that. They use it to build their nests. Right?


Farmer Fred  28:38

So it's not a problem.


Charlotte Owendyk  28:40

Not a problem. I just go, Oh, good. I got bees. And you know, that's good for my vegetable garden.


Farmer Fred  28:47

I'm hearing voices through the window here in the abutilon jungle and they're coming from… it sounds like they're coming from east of the Mississippi! And they're all saying, “What about Japanese beetles?”


Charlotte Owendyk  28:55

Oh, well, you know, we don't have them here. I think we've had maybe one infestation and they were controlled and eradicated. But they are prevalent, especially in the Midwest and the East. We have a thing that's called a Hoplia beetle,  but it just comes up and then it goes away. So it doesn't do a significant amount of damage. But the Japanese beetles primarily eats the roots of your turf grasses. And so you'll get brown spots on your grass. And then in mid summer, July, and August, they emerge and then they start eating stuff above because they're there. They're looking for each other there. They're actually trying to find a mate and have a good time. So they can reproduce and propagate. I've read that some people  plant zonal geraniums, the pelargoniums, because that's close to ground and that's an indicator of how many Japanese beetles they get and then they gather them, put them in soapy water and get rid of them. It’s a mechanical way, and that reduces a population. Or if they have more, they may end up doing some sort of spraying, I think they use BT, which is a bacteria, there's a very common thing they use, Bacillus thuringiensis. And you can also use that if you have them in  the grass, they have  forms of it that's granulated, you can spread on your grass, because it's a real turf pest. The beetles are attracted to your turf so much. So they used to have a major problem with it till they figure it out the appropriate controls and you're best off using something like the BT and stuff like that for controls, or soapy water or just mechanical knocking them off. Or in some cases, they said, since they're only there for like 30 days, cut off all the roses,  the Japanese beetles are going for the lovely, delicious, sweet things. So just cut off all your roses, and you know, help, maybe they'll go to your neighbor's roses, and then will go into the neighbor's lawn. And they won't bother you as much.


Farmer Fred  31:03

I like your idea of planting geraniums in front of your roses or even surrounding your roses, because that's what the Japanese beetles will hit first. So when you see them on the geraniums, you can stop them from climbing up into your roses.


Charlotte Owendyk  31:18

And that's all because as people get used to it, people start noticing. Some people are so observant and they say, Hey, that's where they go first. If I get rid of all the little stuff before it gets too big, then I don't have as much damage on my roses or other plants. Yeah, people figure things out.


Farmer Fred  31:42

Exactly. And there are biological controls. You don't have to reach for heavy duty chemicals necessarily to go after the Japanese beetles. There's parasites and nematodes, and other biological controls.


Charlotte Owendyk  31:57

that's the other thing. There's even a nematode you can put on the grass that will eat the grubs that are underneath in the soil. Yeah, I think that's that's the way to go. I don't like spraying . I don't want to touch things I don't want.  I don't want to be exposed to all those chemicals. We have enough exposure to chemicals as it is. So I'm not going to bring it into my garden, I spend too much time in my garden digging in the dirt to plant stuff. I don’t things  that are  toxic to me and to others. And to me, it's more work. Because if I get the beneficials out of balance, then you get inundated with other pests. If you get rid of one pest and you don't have some beneficials, then another pest may come in like aphids and then they take over. No, I don't want that. I want my birds and I want my beneficials to do work for me.


Farmer Fred  32:49

A couple of things. The USDA points out about Japanese beetle controls using BT and milky spores. The BT it's a stomach poison and is ingested by the grubs. The effectiveness though is basically for use on the grub stage only. And the same is true with milky spores. The spores germinate in the grubs gut, infect the gut cells, enter the blood where those spores multiply. And then the buildup of the spores in the blood causes the grub to take on the characteristic milky appearance.


Charlotte Owendyk  33:20

yep, yep. And kills them  when they're in the ground. And they're in the ground, basically 11 months of the year. So that's the best place to deal with them. Yeah.


Farmer Fred  33:29

And you know, one good way too, if you think if you see, like you mentioned, the browning area of your lawn that  might be infected by the grub of the Japanese beetle, go ahead and take out a core of soil. Do a shovel deep on four sides of that brown area, get the brown area and part of the green area as well.


Charlotte Owendyk  33:47

Yes, include part of the green area. They’ve already moved on from the brown area.


Farmer Fred  33:51

So you go out and you take out that big chunk of soil that might be eight by eight by eight inches or whatever, and pull it up. Maybe dig down six, eight inches deep. Then start counting the grubs.


Charlotte Owendyk  34:01

that's perfect point. That's the best way to deal with that and get it before they emerge.


Farmer Fred  34:07

All right, before we run out of time here, I want to talk about an operator error problem in the springtime on roses, but it was an operator error that probably happened in the wintertime. And that was spraying for weeds. A lot of people think that certain weed killers, like any that contain the active ingredient glyphosate, is not going to harm a leafless rosebush in the winter. And they have roses around they're weeds and so they figure well, I can spray in the wintertime there's no leaves on the roses. They'll be okay. Not so fast. Those roses have kind of a thin skin, don't they?


Charlotte Owendyk  34:43

Yeah, they really do. And they're active growers and they absorb glyphosate. They're like a sponge and it generates contorted growth. The leaves get red, it damages the rose and if you have enough damage, there's no way, the rose does not recover.


Farmer Fred  35:03

Contorted growth is the fingerprint of glyphosate damage, and it's not going to manifest itself until the rose is growing.


Charlotte Owendyk  35:10

That's correct. Even if you think it's a quiet day, and you just got to do this little spotting of weeds, of let's say, you have Bermuda grass, or you have some other noxious weeds in your rose bed, and you put that down, it will dry real fast. But as it dampens off or a little bit a little bit wafts up and hits an actively growing rose, you'll get the same sort of damage. It is so sensitive. So so sensitive.


Farmer Fred  35:39

One point I do want to make about glyphosate. A lot of people don't even use the word glyphosate. They'll just say Roundup. Well, if you've been following the news, you know that the Bayer Corporation is spending a lot of money in court, losing glyphosate cases. And Bayer has for some reason, kept the name Roundup, but  they're changing the active ingredients, and not including glyphosate. They're including things like Triclopyr, Fluasifop, and Diquat. Instead, you may see those ingredients or you  may not see them on the container. There are still a lot of Roundup formulations on the market that still have glyphosate as the active ingredient. But you may see in certain stores or as time goes by, more active ingredients that are not glyphosate. And so they're kind of, I guess, getting rid of the glyphosate  and just going with these others. I'm not sure how effective these other active ingredients are.


Charlotte Owendyk  36:37

That would be my question, too. Yeah.


Farmer Fred  36:39

But this all goes back to what we've been saying for 100 years, is read and follow all label directions. And part of your reading when you're going to buy weed killer is see what the active ingredients are. Triclopyr is a common ingredient, by the way, in a lot of brush and Vine control products. So that might work in your palm situation. As long as the plant is listed on the label.


Charlotte Owendyk  37:03

Yeah, yeah, exactly.


Farmer Fred  37:05

Well, let's talk about happy things like roses.


Charlotte Owendyk  37:09

Let's do that. My garden is looking good. I love Spring. I absolutely love Spring. I love the green. You know that the big thing was roses and I'm just I'm taking away from this. But it's the foliage. The foliage on certain roses is so beautiful. Some of it's shiny and glossy, like the Julia Child rose. It has a beautiful green shining glossy foliage. And then you've got other ones that have this beautiful red foliage. It's just  magnificent. You know, it's before the dust settles and before the hot sun kind of turn leaves leathery. This is the most beautiful time of the year.


Farmer Fred  37:47

So you live here in the Sacramento area. What is usually the first roses to bloom in the spring?


Charlotte Owendyk  37:53

It depends. I've got one or two blooms everywhere. Actually, my Julia Child has put out one bloom. I see it from here. It's a beautiful, it's butter yellow. That's why they call it Julia Child. For those of you who don't know the story of that. I know you do because you've heard me say it. Julia Child did not want to a rose named after her. But Tom Carruth, who was the hybridizer for Weeks Roses, said, come out to Wasco (near Bakersfield) where our growing fields are,  and you could take a look at it. Okay,  she lived in Santa Barbara, so it was not that far. And she went out there and she looks at the field. She says, “that one”. It was the Julia Child. She liked it because the bloom was butter yellow.


Farmer Fred  38:34

She was fond of her butter.


Charlotte Owendyk  38:36

She loves to cook with butter and butter is tasty.


Farmer Fred  38:39

Yeah. All right. Yeah, if you'd like butter, you'd like the Julia Child rose.


Charlotte Owendyk  38:45

But I saw a couple little roses blooming here and there. It depends. The first rose to bloom depends on your property. If you have one that is against a south wall, that's a little bit warmer. It's probably going to be the first one to bloom.


Farmer Fred  39:00

In, my yard, it’s hard to tell because of a nasturtium issue, but we won't talk about that. Roses and spring time they go together like, I don't know, roses and aphids.


Charlotte Owendyk  39:20

roses and daffodils. You know?


Farmer Fred  39:24

All right, roses. We got them. Take care of your spring roses, no matter what time during spring, they bloom in your area, and they will. Enjoy them because usually that first flush of roses is the best.


Charlotte Owendyk  39:38

Make sure if you have a chance, put fertilizer down after you prune, and I'd sometimes do it one more time before bloom. We're going to have a rainstorm tonight. So I've already put down a little bit more organic fertilizer, because I want to make sure that I'm going to have really nice bloom cycles, the very first one on it. And then after they bloom, I'll put some down some more and then I'll give them a break for our hot July and August.


Farmer Fred  40:09

And will you then fertilize them again when the weather cools down?


Charlotte Owendyk  40:13

Because when you use organic fertilizer, you're actually not feeding the roses, you're feeding all the organisms in the soil. So you're feeding the soil. And it takes a while for the soil organisms to break down the organic material. So the roses can, there's a little sharing going on between the  organisms in the end, the roses and any other plant, roses and plants, when they generate the chlorophyll, generates all the sugars and they pump it down in the roots, some of that sugar gets exuded in the soil, and it attracts the fungi and the bacteria. And they kind of make a coating around all the little hair roots. And so that's how you get the transfer of some of the different nitrogen, potassium, all the different minerals are transferred to the roses. And that's what's going on. So the organisms break down the organic matter. And you could put leaf mold down, you can put compost down, a lot of us recycle our own green material and then add that. And then the soil organisms break that down. And then they do a happy dance because the organisms get the sugar, and the roses get everything they need to build more leaves and flowers.


Farmer Fred  41:33

It's all about the soil, as that guy always says.


Charlotte Owendyk  41:38

And you know, I think working in the garden, it makes me a happy person. It's a zen place for me.  I just got an article from one of our members. And she wrote about how she's a nurse. And she's really gotten into, some of the things you need to do to provide balance. Do meditation in the moment. And that's what she says about her garden. She wrote such a lovely article, and the garden does that for me. It's a wonderful place to be out of the house and in the sunshine with the birds. You do the same thing. You know how good it makes you feel.


Farmer Fred  42:14

Exactly, yes. You have a newsletter that comes out with the Sacramento Rose Society and the Sierra foothills rose society called Rose Reflections. It's an excellent Northern California local newsletter. Can anybody get that?


Charlotte Owendyk  42:29

Well, yes, they can. I give a courtesy copy least one or two to anybody.


Farmer Fred  42:36

SierraFoothillsRoseSociety.org is the website. And I noticed there were past issues online there.


Charlotte Owendyk  42:43

Yes, then there’s the SacramentoRoseSociety.org . Just let them know that you'd like a copy of the newsletter.


Farmer Fred  42:50

Because there is, at both those sites, a way to contact them. So you can use that contact box, too.


Charlotte Owendyk  42:59

I love to share my newsletter. I try to write things that are timely. I'm doing an article on thrips for hopefully  this month, but if not, it'll be  next month. It talks about all thing rose-related in this area.


Farmer Fred  43:17

By the strangest of coincidence, I just went to my computer and typed in SacramentoRoseSociety.org. And they have a big box that says Contact Us. And you click on that box and you can fill in your name and your email and then you can request that copy of the Rose Reflections newsletter.  Yeah, that's easy. All right, Charlotte Owendyk, Master Rosarian. We learned a lot about springtime rose care today. Charlotte, thanks so much for your help.


Charlotte Owendyk  43:44

It's been delightful. It is always nice to talk to you, Fred.




Farmer Fred  43:53

In today’s episode, I mentioned several times about including pictures about the rose issues we were talking about today with Master Rosarian Charlotte Owendyk, including what the rose mosaic virus disease looks like, what aphids look like on a rose in spring, what a rose covered in a wild, vining nasturtium plant looks like, maybe a picture of one of Charlotte’s favorite rose varieties, the Julia Child, and maybe a picture of what that Lyda Rose looks like when it’s not covered in a blooming nasturtium.

So, what the heck, let’s put them all into this week’s Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, along with Charlotte’s step by step tips for propagating new starts from an existing rose bush. Spring is the best time to do that, while the plant is actively growing. So, it’s a very rosey edition of the newsletter.


It’s the Beyond the Garden Basics Newsletter on Substack.There’s a link in today’s show notes. You can also find it at the newsletter tab at the top of our home page, gardenbasics.net . Or, just go to substack.com, and do a search for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred. Or go to substack.com slash garden basics (one word).  Think of it as your garden resource that goes beyond the basics. It’s the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter.



Farmer Fred

Garden Basics With Farmer Fred comes out every Tuesday and Friday and is brought to you by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery. Garden Basics is available wherever podcasts are handed out. For more information about the podcast, visit our website, GardenBasics.net. That’s where you can find out about the free, Garden Basics newsletter, Beyond the Basics. And thank you so much for listening.


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