Saturday, February 2, 2013

Revision to my thrips post

For everyone who has already read yesterday's post and moved on My Plan has been revised. Thanks to a very accomplished rosey friend I have new information on dealing with flower thrips that I need to pass on to you in addition to the change I made to yesterday's post. She suggested Saf-T-Side horticultural oil. She uses it to keep the thrips population under control and says it's cheap, doesn't burn except in the hottest summer temps, and is very friendly to beneficials. I did some investigating myself last night and found that she's right, of course. I wondered why such an easy, non-toxic remedy wasn't mentioned anywhere else in my searches for an answer to thrips - or maybe I was only looking at the chemical remedies. You can read about it HERE

As I was thinking about it last night, I became concerned about getting the spray on flowers because the oil damages them, and the whole point of spraying anything is to prevent damage to the blooms. Then I considered the timing. In two or three weeks I will prune (though not all of the bushes get pruned), so they will not have flowers or even much foliage on them. (Hmm, I'm recalling Dr. Malcolm Manners' practice of stripping leaves on all of his roses at pruning time.) The roses will be leafing out and setting flower buds during the weeks after that, and that's when the thrips arrive - just in time to hit all that tender new growth. That will be the time to spray the Saf-T-Side. 

There doesn't seem to be much difference to me between the Saf-T-Side and the spinosad except in their toxicity to bees which probably amounts to a huge difference ecologically. This spraying business is definitely a reach for my inexperienced brain. Gardening is surprisingly full of new experiences, and I'm trying not to lead you all down a path that might be wrong for you - again. 

As regards horticultural oils my smart rosey friend says, "When you mention oils, people will say they burn. If they investigate, as you did, and as I have done, they will find that the Saf-T-Side is different in its formulation. I tested it this summer when I had chili thrips. Wanted to use something other than spinosad if possible. It controlled them for quite a while and didn’t burn, even in summer heat. Temperatures now are very favorable for the use of oil and will continue to be so for several more months. A lot of the burning problem depends on the age of the leaves as well. The very youngest are simply more susceptible to burning. I absolutely hate to use insecticides of any kind anymore. Saf-T-Side accomplishes so many things that I expect to be using it for most everything when I feel the need to do “something” not water related."

The main point is that if you are producing beautiful roses with what you are doing, keep doing it! Conditions in Central Florida are very different from other places, so many pests/diseases manifest themselves differently here than in other areas. Take what I say and then do some homework on the internet, and then do what your gut tells you for your micro-environment that makes you comfortable. Roses aren't rocket science, but sometimes for me it can seem that way until I get my sea-legs on some new aspect. At any rate in this age of widely available information there's no reason to be confused and alone. We're all in this together.


  1. I just wanted to mention something. I am a CPA and a requirement is to get cont education hours. So I have to endure Audit seminars (and I know tax, know very little about audit) and as I watch the speaker go very emphatically through the slides....this is the though that goes through my head ....."He knows enough to be annoyed." If you are annoyed that means you know enough to know how things should have spit out words and products I have never, ever heard of...let alone is def a learning experience. I still have a lot to learn, clearly.

  2. Janie, as long as I'm not annoy-ing! I can only say "Hang in there!!" I know it's as clear as mud right now, but it'll get clearer. Do what I do...skip past the gobbledy-gook stuff and keep doing what you're doing. I'm sure accounting practices weren't very clear either when you first dove into them. Keep your eye on spring. Your roses will be gorgeous!