Arrival of the Aphids!

Arrival of the Aphids!
By Stan V. Griep
Colorado Native Rosarian 40+ years experience with roses
Consulting Rosarian

While out taking a walk around my rose beds on Saturday,
May 28th, I noticed some shining specks on the leaves of Mary Rose.
This of course prompted a closer look to see what it was. Well there they were,
masses of little green aphids climbing all over themselves, from just under
several buds and on down the stems as if playing king of the mountain! The
first thought that entered my mind was, “How dare they invade my roses and
especially my wonderful Mary Rose!” This attack will not go unchallenged, I
thought to myself as well. Grabbing the hose and my water nozzle I sprayed the
foliage down with a good stiff spray, sending those little green menaces on the
water slide ride of their wee little lives! They might as well enjoy such rides
as they will get one daily until they decide to leave for parts unknown! While
this water spray technique often works with light to moderate attacks, there
are times when it simply does not. If it does not work within two or three
days, it is best to try other means of getting rid of them. They do tend to
draw in others if left to their own desires and a major attack will be even
more frustrating to deal with.

My first chemical weapon choice in this battle is Bug-B-Gon Max. It can be obtained in a handy hose end sprayer, if so desired, or it can be obtained as a concentrate that one can mix themselves. The last choice is called Sevin and considered extreme for aphids by some, as it kills a lot of bugs including the good guy bugs. The Bug-B-Gon Max will also kill some of the good guy bugs. Oh no! Now what do I do……?????

So you see it is not any easy choice to use any chemical weapon in an effort to rid your gardens and beloved plants of these pests. Using them can, at times, actually bring about further and season long problems with various insect attacks. Their use does impact the natural order of things in the garden/rose bed. Ridding theses areas of all bugs will also leave them without the natural protectors for some time. Yes the natural protectors will
usually return in time but seem to return far more slowly than the enemies of our plants. The old battle of good versus evil being played out in our very own gardens & rose beds! And here we stand, as the garden keeper, holding the smoking gun that may well have caused the vicious cycle to rage on and probably just fired a shot that helps the bad guys more than the good guys…..  Sad but true it is, even in our gardens there are serious choices to be made. I personally do not like to use any insecticides on my roses or other plants. I fully realize the impacts of “going to war” in this manner. Yet I also realize the frustration of seeing my hard work destroyed and not being able to enjoy the beautiful blooms I have waited a seemingly endless winter season to see! It truly is a matter of personal choice for the individual gardener. As gardeners, whether we consider ourselves
organic gardeners and defenders of the earth upon which we dwell, or gardeners that try to be as organic as we can be, it still comes down to our own choices.
No Gardener or Rosarian should look down upon others for the choices they make under such circumstances.

My honest recommendation is to start off, when under any bug attacks, with the method that has the least overall impact. Work your way to those things which carry more serious impacts slowly. By slowly I mean using insecticides that carry less overall impact first and so on. Do what you need to do to protect the gardens and rose beds you work hard on, do
not allow yourself to be overcome with guilt for having done so. It was, after all things are considered, truly you doing the best you could do to protect and preserve that which you love.

For some further study, read information available on Integrated Pest Management, there is a lot of good information available. The system you use related to IPM is really just helping you make careful choices.

Enjoy your gardens and rose beds, just remember to take
the time to stop and think things through before taking action.

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