These are the exciting months, with the new foliage growing fast as the days warm, and the first of the buds starting to show. Unfortunately this is the time when the first pests also appear and require action. Aphids in all shades of green, brown,
yellow and black appear on the new stems in their millions and can seriously distort new growth, and potential flowers. Pyrethrin, because of its natural origin is claimed to be safe to use but actually the pyrethroids that were developed from it are in fact
safer. The newer Neem oil and Eco oil also have safe claims. However avoid spraying when bees are around. Caterpillars respond well to Mavrik.
Blackspot is the worst of the fungal diseases and while it can be prevented it cannot be cured. So,
start spraying at 14 day intervals by mid October with Triforine or the new ecofriendly Eco Rose or Eco Fungicide.
Mulching during September before the soil dries out will be highly beneficial to retaining moisture. Be careful not to remove the sprinklers
(if in use) when putting the mulch in position. The best mulches are Who Flung Dung and sugar cane mulch. Bark and wood chips are OK, but use up a lot of nitrogen from the soil as they rot. Thus there will be a greater requirement for fertiliser.