Multiple garden pests can wreak havoc in gardens, often leaving behind lasting damage that will require intensive repair work in order to repair. But strong and healthy plants typically outgrow this damage over time.
Keep an eye out for signs of pest activity on plants, such as discolored leaves or stems and flowers. Early identification allows you to combat potential issues before they spread to other crops and become an issue for their production.
1. Remove Damaged Leaves
One of the best ways to protect your garden from pests is ensuring its initial health. Regular inspections will enable you to identify any damage or issues quickly.
Encourage natural predators and parasites into your garden: spiders kill moths, wasps attack caterpillars and nasturtiums repel aphids; adding organic matter such as compost will enrich soil composition with beneficial microorganisms that help fend off diseases and parasites.
DIY insecticidal spray can be made easily at home by mixing water with gentle liquid soap or vegetable oil in a spray bottle, then spraying infested plants with it. This type of insecticidal spray suffocates soft-bodied insects without harming the environment or beneficial insects in your garden. Chili spray or equal parts sugar/water solution are effective ways to deter aphids and soft-bodied pests; another option would be BT bacterium (sold as Bacillus Thuringiensis Var. Kurstaki/Var. Tenebrionis), available as powder that you sprinkle onto plants/ground, helps get rid of soft-bodied pests!
2. Clean Up
Good garden maintenance plays an integral part in combatting pest infestation. Regular weeding and removal of dead leaves and plant debris create hiding spaces for harmful insects and pathogens; and good air circulation during the growing season helps impede their spread among plants.
Natural methods for controlling pests in your garden include adding plants that naturally repel or attract specific types of insects and animals. Marigolds repel aphids and other destructive insects while alliums, garlic and chives help eliminate tomato-destroying nematodes; peppermint can protect against flies, beetles and mosquitos.
Other beneficial insects that you should welcome into the garden include ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantises and parasitic wasps. These beneficial bugs feed off pests like aphids, squash bugs, thrips caterpillars and mites while acting as pollinators and helping control populations of other pests.
3. Search for the Pest
Garden pests may only become noticeable when invading plants; others, however, may remain present but remain hard to spot, such as those laying eggs or hiding in the soil. Make regular checks of your plants, checking under and in leaf creases where many pests hide; also gently sift the surface layer of your soil regularly as this layer provides perfect habitats for aphids, pill bugs, cutworms and squash bugs to hide out in.
If you don’t recognize a certain pest, bring a photo or specimen into a garden center, nursery, or Master Gardeners program that has experts available. Accurate identification can help reduce potential outbreaks from happening; keeping some garden pests may actually be beneficial! By understanding which ones do and don’t belong in your garden will make encouraging them easier instead of killing them off entirely. And keep in mind: Preventing outbreaks is far simpler.
4. Treat the Infestation
Assuming preventive measures can strengthen your garden’s natural defenses against pests, it’s still wise to monitor it frequently for signs of trouble. Check under leaves, on stems and in the soil for infestations; track your observations in a notebook in order to identify patterns in symptoms; for instance wilted plants, black spots, shriveled leaves or fruits may indicate disease or nutritional deficiencies rather than pest infestation.
When problems arise in your garden, natural solutions should be employed for treatment. Woody plants should be sprayed with dormant oil, neem oil or lightweight horticultural oils in order to suffocate pests such as aphids, which feed off plant juices that weaken crops by sucking up juice from them; or beneficial nematodes to attack and kill these insects can also help. When purchasing dormant nematodes they should be stored in the refrigerator before being diluted before application with water as needed before being applied diluted before application.