Messenger… Healthier Plants, Better Blooms

by Paul Vellucci

 I first saw an ad in the ARS magazine about a year ago.  The ad claimed that:

 “Messenger stimulates a plant’s defense and growth , vigor, and production.  Messenger boosts overall growth , vigor, and production.  Messenger aids in the management of disease.  Messenger improves the plant’s ability to grow and protect itself from stresses caused by adverse environmental conditions.  Messenger is derived from a naturally occurring protein (Harpin).  Messenger may be used on all plants grown indoors and outdoors, including Roses and other Flowers, Vegetables, and Fruiting Trees, Berries, Vines, Herbs, Root Crops, and all ornamental plants such as Trees, Shrubs, and Turf.”

 This sounded like a cure-all to me, and I decided to try it.  I ordered it on line at the ARS society.  The price is a little steep at $13.45 per three-pack for members and $19.98 for non-members.  There is a special discount for the purchase of three three-packs at $36.35 for members, and $53.95 for non-members. 

Each packet mixes to one to three gallons of water.  The problem is that the packet, when opened, must be used within twenty-four hours.  So, you must be ready to use the whole packet when it’s opened.  Also, when mixed, it must be applied within four hours.  You need enough plants in your garden to make this product cost effective.  Application is easy.  Mix up to three gallons and apply with a foliar sprayer or drench the plant for complete coverage.

 With all that said I began using Messenger in May as the foliage began to appear.  I applied Messenger every two weeks throughout the growing season.  With the mixture that was left after spraying my seventy-five rose bushes, I sprayed Joan’s plants (not roses).

The results were truly amazing.  My roses had better looking foliage, bigger roses and healthier plants.  Disease was kept at a minimum.  My mini rose `Child’s Play,’ which in prior years has defoliated itself, retained all of its leaves for the entire season.  I saw only three Japanese beetles and very few aphids on the plants.  Black spot was kept to a minimum on only four plants.  I still continued with my fertilization and normal spray program.

 I will say that Joan’s plants all did better than ever.  Her houseplants have never looked so good during the winter months.  She is happy with the product.  As for me, I have ordered more Messenger for this growing season.  I truly believe that Messenger improves the health of every plant you grow in your garden.

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