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Kaolin clay (Surround WP) on roses to deter Japanese Beetles

5 months ago
last modified: 5 months ago

I keep an organic garden in eastern KS, and I am already so done with JBs. I try to do all of the IPM things: I apply milky spore religiously every season, I deadead blooms dilligently, I keep my roses well watered and fed, bag blooms with organza bags...but I'm so over carrying that cup of soapy water multiple times a day or shaking them into coffee cans. I tried pyrethrin last year and that helped knock them back, but they came back with a vengeance 3 days later, and I'm not out to get spider mites.

I'm trying kaolin clay (WP Surround) this year, and am tracking its effectiveness. My first JBs trickled in on 6/13. I applied the clay on 6/17 and have reapplied every other day to maximize coverage. There have been no JBs until this morning, 6/24 (there were just three of them and they met the Lord real quick). I didn't see any more for the rest of the day. However, there is a bagworm infestation in my neighborhood, and I am noticing that the bagworms will happily much on the rose leaves through the clay. Not as bad as JB damage, but still, ugh. I'm cautiously optimistic, but it's also been in the 90s, and I think heat slows down JBs, so I can't tell if the clay is effective.

However, I'm finding that the wet clay doesn't stick well to new growth; it pretty much just beads off the tender leaves. Does anyone have strategies for getting the clay to adhere better to rose shrubs? Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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