Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thrips

They’re the teensiest bugs you’ve ever seen with your naked eyes. Of course, you can’t see them if you don’t deliberately go looking for them, but it’s not hard to know where to start looking.

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Light colored roses are the prime targets for thrips. I don’t know why. However, I was greatly dismayed today to find that ‘Enchantress’, a magenta Tea Rose, was infested with them. The photos here are of ‘Clotilde Soupert’, but ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ and ‘Duquesa’ were ruined also.

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Clotilde has been blooming for a good while but she’s building for her first big flush – or I should say was. I wasn’t going to, but I decided to de-flower them today. I compare this task to picking cotton even though I have no experience picking cotton. I wear a trash bag tied to my waist which gets quite heavy with the many, many ruined blooms that I drop into it, and the required position is bent over at the waist leaning over and into the bush. This is why I wasn’t going to do it, but the thought of having roses that look this awful for weeks and weeks changed my mind and made me choose the pain. You see, the thrips larvae fall to the ground and then mature to fly and lay their eggs in the next crop of flower buds…and the next and the next for several generations through the end of April usually. So my perspective is to end it now by disposing of the flowers and the larvae in them before they can reproduce. Last year the next flush was fine.

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Once the sepals have opened even just a little bit it’s obvious that thrips are in the bud because of the stained petals that show, and no amount of wishful thinking will save them at this stage. They have already been infested for a good while. The blooms will most likely ball and never open…

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and if perchance they do open, they are as ugly as sin and have to be deadheaded anyway. I figure this flush is lost anyway so why not get rid of it and start the rose moving toward rebloom.

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This is ‘White Maman Cochet’, usually an exceptionally beautiful Tea Rose. You can see the buggers by parting the petals open and looking down at the base of the flower. The light-colored creepy-crawly things will be scurrying around, but you’ll have to look hard. They really are tiny.

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I’m thinking ‘Chrysler Imperial’ has them by the looks of his crispy outer edges and unusual form. I didn’t think about it being from thrips so I didn’t break it open to check. The removed flowers and buds need to be disposed of in a way that the thrips can’t escape to re-invest. One word of warning...be careful wear you stick your nose this time of year.

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Hermosa’ was beautifully unscathed. The buds of ‘Madame Abel Chatenay’ are still tightly closed, so I don’t know about her yet. She had them last year, so I’m assuming she will again.

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Early in the season there’s a lot to be said for pink roses.

12 comments:

  1. That is so sad but you were right to get the nasty things off there. Hopefully this did it for you and they don't attack your other pretty Roses.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Oh, Cher, your agreeing with what I did made me feel good. There are a few others that have them - Reve d'Or, Climbing Maman Cochet, Arcadia Louisianna Tea, and probably Maman Cochet.

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  2. Your Clotilde Soupert looks exactly like my "Rock Hill Peach Tea" for its first flush. Hundreds of buds, totally ruined. Heartbreaking. Deadheading IS the only answer (for those of us who do not use insecticide) and it's a bit theraputic, too. Off with your head!!

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    1. Connie, you have thrips, too? My only pleasure during the job was the couple of beautifully perfect blooms on SDLM & Duquesa. It removed the bad feelings I had toward Duquesa which is a fantastic bush but the blooms have been less than fantastic for the most part. Mustn't judge someone when she's not at her best.

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  3. Talk about your depressing rose pictures. Makes one wish they were a geneticist so they could develop a virus that would wipe out thrips worldwide. What good are the little things, anyway?

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    1. The only good I see is the business they give to back surgeons.

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  4. I feel your pain both in not seeing our roses bloom out and the back! I agree with the Professor, "what good are the little things, anyway?" Think I'll try the Solo Cups with STP and see if that gets at least some of them! Better days ahead I just know it! :)

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    1. I was just out in the garden taking pictures (naturally) and saw that pretty much all of the roses regardless of color have them. So disgusting. I have a lot of deadheading to do but not today.

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  5. So sorry Sherry! I had a really bad problem with them last year myself. Had pretty much no roses except the knockouts because I had to deadhead them all. No pictures for my blog either. Thripes drive me insane as there really isn't much one can do about it.

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  6. How sad! :( I had a terrible infestation a couple of years ago. I hope I don't get them again this year. So sad to have your spring flush ruined. I hope your roses respond by putting out double the blooms!

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  7. Really sad. And I hate those thrips! Each year, I've lost some plants in my house because of them...8(

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  8. Thank you for posting the pictures. I will be doubly careful to checking my roses now.

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