What is that smell?
Have you ever notice a “fishy” smell coming from the Dean Bond Rose Garden? This is part of our organic rose garden procedure. Applied roughly every two weeks depending on conditions, a mixture of fish hydrolysate and water (1.5 ounces per gallon) is sprayed liberally on the plants of the Dean Bond Rose Garden.
In addition to working as a fertilizer, fish hydrolysate applications function as a fungicide. Similar to a chemical fungicide, fish emulsion is applied while wearing protective gear; the entire plant is coated. This prevents the spread of funguses like black spot.
Besides fertilizing the roots and building microbial activity in the soil, a drenching of fish emulsion suppresses the fungus spores from splashing on other plants to spread disease. We are currently working on identifying and removing cultivars of roses highly susceptible to black spot. The remaining resistant cultivars will enjoy the benefit of a restored healthy balance in the soil structure created by these applications which will increase in their resistance to disease.
So if you see a gardener in a spray suit applying a smelly substance in the Dean Bond Rose Garden, it is not chemical based even though these treatments are applied with equipment similar to traditional treatments.
Consider these organic alternatives for your garden. The fishy smell lasts only until the liquid dries, allowing everyone to smell the roses. For more information on the Dean Bond Rose Garden efforts, check out the 2015 Winter issue of the Hybrid.