A Gardener’s Guide to Pest Control and Prevention
You spent weeks planning the perfect garden. You strategically selected flowers and seeds that fit your color schemeand purchased a shelf full of gardening tools to get the job done. You carefully measured your rows and spacing and kept an eye on depth and placement while planting.
Fast-forward a few weeks, when suddenly, you noticed holes and bite marks in your previously thriving plants, accompanied by some creepy crawly critters.
So, what now? Do you throw in the towel and try again next year? Do you give up on gardening altogether? Here’s our suggestion: keep reading for some helpful tips so you can successfully stay two steps ahead of those hungry little garden pests!
Common Pests to Watch Out For
While specific infestations can vary depending on the contents of your garden, there are a few common garden peststo be aware of.
Common plant-pestering pests include:
- Caterpillars (including tent caterpillars)
- Spotted Lanternflies
- Scale insects
- Certain beetles, such as Flea Beetles and Japanese Beetles
Our Favorite Tips for Garden Pest Control & Prevention
You may be tempted to douse your garden in pesticides in an attempt to get rid of your garden pests, but we advise against it—with certain sprays, you could end up harming your plants and some of those beneficial bugs, too.
Instead, try some of these natural methods and gardening practices to promote a thriving backyard ecosystem:
Plant Pest-Repelling Plants
There are several fragrant, beautiful pest-resistant plants to choose from when it comes to keeping garden critters under control. If you’re a fan of herbs, you’re in luck you can certainly use this strategy to your advantage!
Popular pest-repelling plants include:
…and more! If your garden is prone to a specific type of intruder, be sure to do sufficient research and pick a plant that does in fact ward off the pest in question.
Attract Beneficial Bugs
Not all bugs are bad. In fact, there are several not-so-creepy crawlies that can benefit your garden, from pollinators to predators.
Some bugs can be purchased and then introduced to your garden; others can naturally be attracted to your garden with the right pollen and nectar-producing flowers.
Some helpful pest-eating predators to have in your garden include:
- Praying mantids (but be careful–these hunters can also prey on beneficial bugs as well as pesky pests)
- Ground beetles
- Parasitic wasps
- Tachinid flies
Use Non-Toxic Sprays
While proactive pest control and prevention is ideal, sometimes infestations happen and require a quick fix. That said, you don’t want to use a toxic pest-killing spray that ends up harming those beneficial bugs (or even your plants).
Instead, opt for natural, organic sprays—you can even make your own insecticides out of household ingredients.
For example, you can fight off aphids, beetles, and mites with simple dish soap diluted with water. Just add 1.5 teaspoons of soap per quart of water, mix, and spray where you see the insects. For best results, spray in the mornings or evenings when the sun isn’t at its peak.
Interplanting—planting your veggies, herbs, and flowers in the same spots—can be confusing to pests, making them less likely to camp out in your garden.
This is because they have a harder time identifying and locating their favored host plants, as they can end up on a different plant each time they land in the same general area.
Diversify your garden and confuse your pests by interplanting pest-prone plants with some of the pest-repelling plants listed above.
Promote Healthy Plants
Just like we work to strengthen our immune systems to protect ourselves from germs and bacteria, it’s important to promote your plants’ overall health so they’re more resilient and resistant to pests and disease.
For example, make sure you’re using healthy soil, high-quality plant food, and appropriate amounts of sunlight and water for each type of plant.
If you prefer the help of a professional to help your garden thrive, look no further. Our creative landscape gardeners offer on-site consultations plus soil analyses, custom project designs, all-inclusive installation, and ongoing maintenance.
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