No matter how hard you have worked to buy only “disease resistant “ roses, you probably have noticed that almost all roses require some sort of spray program to keep fungus and insects under control.
The number one thing you need to remember when spraying is this: Don’t spray anything, not even so called “natural” products, without wearing proper safety equipment. You don’t have to fear chemical or natural pesticides, you just need to respect them.
Here is how I like to explain it …. Imagine spraying orange juice. Orange juice is good for you to drink. However, would you want to breath it into your lungs, or get it into your eyes? Of course not! If you are not willing to wear protection, then please don’t spray, period.
Question: Do I really need a respirator? It makes me look like Darth Vader. I use one of those paper masks.
Answer: Yes, you need to wear a pesticide respirator. A paper dust mask or a bandana will only block out the large droplets, not the vapors. If you can smell it, you are breathing it!
Question: I wear glasses. Do I really need goggles?
Answer: Glasses without side shields do not protect your eyes from spray droplets and vapor. Either wear goggles over your glasses or get some safety glasses with side shields (at a minimum).
Answer: Yes, this works fine, but a better solution is to use an outer garment like a Tyvek coverall. That way you get to wear something cooler under the coverall, and most importantly, you don’t have to wash the coverall in your washing machine (like you would the long pants and long sleeve shirt). You just reuse it 6 – 10 times and then dispose and get a new one.
Question: What about spraying in greenhouses?
Answer: Spraying in a greenhouse gives the grower no way to escape the spray. You should use extreme care while spraying in an enclosed environment and wear all the recommend PPE (personal protective equipment).
One other very important thing to ponder: If you live in a neighborhood, take your neighbors into consideration. If your neighbor cooks steaks on the grill at 5:00 pm every Saturday night, then that is NOT a good time to spray. I write this with a smile since this should be obvious, but after many years of talking to people all over the country, I’ve realized sadly, it isn’t obvious to everyone. Bottom line: pick a time that no people or pets will be affected. Most sprays will be dry to the touch in 30 minutes or less.