Monday, May 11, 2009

What can I do while preparing my rose garden to keep ants out?

What can I do while preparing my rose garden to keep ants out? They have killed several roses I've had in pots - even hollowed out some of them!

What can I do while preparing my rose garden to keep ants out?
Not being an expert in the area of this question, this answer will have to be of a generic nature until an expert comes along to improve it.

I would suggest that you get a bag of diatomacious earth from a well stocked garden center, or possibly a farm, feed and seed store.

Diatomaceous earth is a powderlike material made of ground up rock which was formed from the skeletons of millions, billions of microscopic "critters."

Diatomaceous earth comes in several forms, and it is CRITICAL that you get/use the AGRICULTURAL grade material, as the others will not work.

The ground up skeleton dust has millions of sharp edges which abraid or cut the exoskeleton of most insects. They naturally do not like this, so when exposed to this type of diatomacious earth, they try to get away from it. If they don't, and remain exposed to it long enough, it will so damage their hard outer shell/skin [exoskeleton] that they will dehydrate, and die.

Following the directions on the label, and using a "shaker" bottle you make from a clean, large plastic bottle with lots of holes punched somewhere on it, apply a light but uniform coating over your garden area. This should discourage the ants, and other insects also.

In addition, if your plants are attacked by any other insects, you can sprinkle the diatomacious earth all over them, and it will discourage the insects. I do not know about the safety of the roses, but do know that many people for years have used it on their vegetable plants, and it is safe for them, and with rinsing of the fruits or vegetables, safe for human consumption.

When you find a local source for the diatomacious earth, you can ask those selling it about the safety relating to use on your roses. I suspect that there will be no problem. Good luck.

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