Apr
27

Think First: Pest Control In The Garden

By CoolGardenThings

Let’s take a moment to think about garden pests and how we want to tackle them next year. Winter is a good time to think about this because you have time to do some research and plan your strategy. If you have a bit of wisdom in your pocket you can avoid spraying toxic chemicals which are bad for you, your family, your pets and the wildlife which visit your lovely flower decorated garden.

We often attack pests when we first spot them in our flowers and this knee-jerk approach usually involves harsh chemicals. Let’s take a moment to contemplate the unwanted insects that we know will be visiting our garden and the sensible and safe ways we can make them go away so we can spend time this summer feeding the birds and picking the flowers instead of stressing over chemicals and insect damage.

Slugs are certainly an unwanted visitor in the garden. They leave holes in our hostas making them look like a ragged mess and they also leave slimy trails all over the garden. Yuck. Before you break out the most deadly of slug pellets which will also kill all the snakes, toads and bird feeding creatures you can try some other things. Try slug traps using terra cotta pots turned upside down which flip over in the morning and pick off the slugs. You can throw old newspaper bundles around the garden and pick them up in the morning and throw them in the garbage. You can partially fill soda cans with a solution of beer, water and yeast and then let the slugs crawl in and drown. Coffee grinds around your hostas may keep them at bay as well. These are better than the nerve damaging slug killer you buy at the hardware store.

Japanese beetle, black vine weevil, fleas and cucumber beetles are some more unwelcome guests in your plants. Japanese beetles like to eat your yellow flowered plants…something to keep in mind when choosing colors for the garden. Black vine weevil enjoy chewing up your rhododendrons in case you were wondering what was eating those edges and cucumber beetles leave polka dot spots all over your daisy leaves.

These beetles can be treated with nerve damaging sprays, or you can try the next new wave in pest control and get a head start on saving the planet by investing in some nematodes. Nematodes are threadlike worms that you mix with water and spray or pour around your plant roots. They must be applied in the evening or on a cloudy wet day as sun exposure will kill them before they can get under the ground. Beneficial Nematodes are like heat sensing missiles that will hunt down the offending beetle grubs and kill them from the inside out. They pose no harm to your family but are an effective weapon against grubs.  Apply them in the spring and again in the fall. They seem perhaps more expensive initially but pay themselves off in one or two years because you no longer need expensive chemicals. They can also be sprayed on the lawn for grub control. These are like the whole body cure for your garden and the planet.

Aphids can be a nuisance especially on roses. You can hit them a few times a day for a few days with a heavy jet of water from the hose. You can also spray them with a mixture of Ivory soap, vegetable oil and water in a spray bottle. You can try predatory lady bugs and praying mantis, but these bugs are kind of like hiring interns to do a job: they don’t always show up when you need them the most and you still have to pay for them.

Everyone hate mosquitos! Citronella is probably your best and most accessible weapon against them in your garden. Firepots filled with citronella gel fuel are a key defense against these invasive and unwelcome garden pests!

If you plan ahead you can put these safe pest control applications to work for you in your garden and feel good knowing you are not poisoning the planet’s already overstressed ecosystems. While these measures may not kill every living pest in your garden you can sleep knowing you are doing your best to create a balanced environment. You are doing the world a favor when you think before you break out the toxic chemicals which kill everything including the honey bees and the butterflies which actually enhance and decorate your garden. Think before you act

Originally posted 2010-02-13 11:25:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Categories : Gardening, Landscaping, Tips

Comments

  1. Nemaslug says:

    If its available in your area, you could try nemaslug to control your slugs. It uses a naturally occuring nematode which targets slugs, as a result it is entirely safe for cat, dogs, snakes, toads and even children!

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