Reducing toxicity in the soil and controlling rose pests naturally. - Knowledgebase Question

Santa Monica, ca
Avatar for doreen2
Question by doreen2
July 9, 2005
My gardener emptied water from the fountain into a small flower bed and the plants all died. I have replaced the soil, bought new plants but the plants are not doing well. I have put dwarf papyrus, button ferns and an orange orchid in the problem area, but they are showing signs of rejecting the new soil. How do I fix the problem?

Also, my rose leaves are full of tiny green worms. Do you have a natural remedy that doesn't require continuous use of pesticide?

Many thanks for the help.

Answer from NGA
July 9, 2005
Water from a fountain shouldn't be harmful to plants, unless the water contained chlorine. Replacing the affected soil with fresh topsoil should have remedied the situation. You'll need to replace at least the top 12" of soil to keep residual chemicals from being drawn up into the new soil through evaporation. Failing that, you might want to keep your new plants in their nursery pots and sink them into holes in the beds until the soil stablizes.

As for the worms on your roses, a really good botanical to use is Bt (Bacillus thuringensis). This is extremely effective against caterpillars.

Best wishes with your garden!

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