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Rose Sawfly caterpillars

My two climbing roses are infested with tiny green monsters. No birds dare to enter my 6m x 5m garden due to all the neighbours' cats so no predators. I have killed them with a spray of fairy liquid and red chillies. But I know they'll keep coming as I can see their shadows inside curled leaves. This is my first year organic gardening. What can I do?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,903
    Pick them off by hand. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • We're going on holiday for a week from tomorrow, Dove.  :s  
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,903
    Oh dear ... well have a lovely time ... don't worry too much about your roses ... one of mine gets attacked by sawfly most years but apart from looking a bit bare for a few weeks it suffers no harm. 
    If you have time before you go get the hosepipe and give them a good squirt with a fierce jet of water. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,264
    Hi allymountain13,

    Try using a spray of diluted neem oil .... it is totally organic and is derived by pressing the seed kernels of the neem tree.

    I use it to prevent lily beetles and sawfly on gooseberries / solomons seal and aruncus. I've also used it if the aphids get too bad on the roses.

    See this link for further info.

    and this one for how to make it.

    I use it as soon as growth starts in April and I drench the foliage. Any spare solution goes onto the soil below as the earthworms are supposed to love it. I repeat spray every few weeks.

    Neem is best used preventatively .... but will work on pests that have already arrived. It does not hurt beneficial insects. Only chewing and sucking insects are affected. The main reason is that insects need to ingest the neem oil to be affected, and beneficial insects don't eat your plants. However, you can still kill beneficial insects if you smother them with neem oil, so I tend to spray late evening to be safe.

    It does stink a bit ... but is easy to mix up and apply.

    I got mine off ebay .... wasn't expensive for a big bottle which will last ages. At room temperature it is solid, but goes liquid again within a couple of hours in the airing cupboard.

    Worth a try.

    Bee x

    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • Thanks Bee. Strangely enough, I haven't seen one since I sprayed. Maybe the chilli juice stays on the leaves like it does on my fingers even after I wash my hands. But I'll get some of the oil. After the usual visit from the aphids this year, my rose is now in full bloom but the white flowers don't bear close inspection covered in little brown spots.

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