Written for an interesting Instagram comment: “Have you ever battled Japanese Beetles organically? I’d like to help my roses without hurting the pollinators”

Our answer is yes! We love our roses to look beautiful, but what is the point in something looking beautiful without functioning properly. When it comes to relying on flowers for example to help purify our environment, it is crucial that we stay away from chemical fertilizers to not end up increasing pollution and decreasing pollination by harming our soil and water and prime pollinators.

Organic gardening methods are for obvious reasons better for our environment and help it instead of hindering it. Switching to organic, pesticide-free solutions is one of the best ways to use flowers wisely for the benefit of the environment.

What if you have something as frustrating as Japanese Beetle attacking your roses every year? Japanese beetle is about 10 mm long with a copper shell and funny green head, these clumsy fliers damage plants by skeletonizing the foliage and may also feed on the fruit of plants if present.

To battle them organically you could use the nematode ‘Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora’ to combat the larvae of the beetle. However, this method would kill them! An alternative method is to deter the little pests with a mixture of Neem Oil, Sal suds soap (Dr Bronner’s) and warm water (2tsp each per 5 litres or 1 gallon) sprayed onto the plants weekly. This will prevent them from eating any of the foliage and is 100% safe to all humans, animals and will not affect pollinators at all. In fact, neem oil is so organically safe my partner used to use it on her face, until ‘I’ or anybody else for that matter wanted to go anywhere near her because it’s such a repulsive smell.

So before spraying your roses with chemical products for aesthetics sake, try and visualise the impact it might have on the environment and try this alternative.