What are other organic disease control programs that are reported to

kaye(7a AR)January 1, 2013

"We've planted Indian hawthorns in our yard to repel Bengal tigers. So far, it's working.

The following are two programs that have been used and reported successful by knowledgeable organic gardeners.

Sulfur as prevention/control for rose diseases.

Plain sulfur (elemental sulfur) is a naturally occurring, safe, and effective control for black spot and powdery mildew. It is also somewhat effective against rose rust and other spot diseases. Spraying sulfur on upper and lower leaf surfaces once a week can provide adequate black spot control even under severe conditions. If black spot is chronic in your area, it is well to begin using sulfur when plants leaf out in spring. Less attention is needed during hot, dry periods in summer.

Note: lime-sulfur is a different product that is normally used during the dormant season to reduce the transmission of disease into the following year and to deter some forms of stem canker.

To reduce the amount of material used and to improve adhesion, plain sulfur should be applied as spray rather than dust. Safers Fungicide is plain sulfur mixed with a little water and a spreader-sticker. It is convenient but expensive. Much cheaper is the dry wettable sulfur available at garden stores. Note: packages labeled garden sulfur contain a product too coarse to be used as a fungicide.

Per gallon, mix 3 TB wettable sulfur with a little water to make a smooth paste. Add to 1 gallon of water and agitate thoroughly. Then add 1 TSP liquid detergent and swirl gently. While spraying, tip and swirl the tank after every two or three bushes sprayed, to prevent settling. If you have trouble with the nozzle clogging, in future try mixing the sulfur paste with a cup of water and pouring it through a large tea strainer into the tank.

Precautions: Water the soil thoroughly before using sulfur, as it will burn rose plants that are stressed for moisture. Do not apply in temperatures approaching 90 degrees F. Morning application is best. Once treated, plants, if well watered, can normally stand temperatures later rising to around 100. The symptom of sulfur burn is dull tan patches on broad leaf surfaces exposed to the sun.

Sulfur is a mild skin irritant to some people, so wear dishwashing gloves while spraying. Inhaling large amounts of sulfur (or any mineral dust) could damage the lungs. Store sulfur outside of the house, as it is a fire hazard. There is no hazard to ingesting small amounts of sulfur, so it may be used on or near food plants; however, it will burn foliage in the squash-cucumber-melon family of plants.

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