Category: Garden pest control
Maintaining a garden free of pesticides
I have worked in the landscape and gardening field for many years and have had the challenge of having to deal with the many garden pest that can really be a menace. To bring solutions to this problem in some instances I resorted to using chemicals that proved to be a good help.
But can you imagine maintaining a garden without pesticides though insects pest is present? Now I know this sounds strange because the question is how then do we deal with those pesky insects and maintain a healthy garden at the same time?
Sounds impossible, not so, it is all a matter of knowing what to do, putting these steps into practice and the rest will be nothing but pure garden success.
Garden without Pesticides
The danger of pesticides
Though pesticides have their advantages, and overuse of these products cannot only contaminate the air we breathe but poison the water table affecting animals and marine life as well as kill off the good bugs the ones that protect our gardens and feed on the bad bugs.
Butterflies are so beautiful as they gracefully fly about either resting or collecting pollen. The sad news is that many butterflies have met such an unpleasant experience of coming in contact with these pesticides.
Over the years, however, there have been many brands that have been sold as user-friendly such as organic pesticides that have proven to be very effective but I believe by meeting our plant’s requirements we can lessen the chance of these bad bugs taking over and destroying our garden plants.
Don’t get me wrong, even in the best-kept gardens you will always have these pests but by using proper culture practice will go a long way in helping to keep insect pest at a minimal.
Having a beautiful garden can be such a wonderful and rewarding experience as you connect with nature by giving nature a helping hand. What I find interesting however is the many types of gardens that grace our landscapes.
But no matter the type or size of garden we have we can all agree on one thing and that is having a garden do have its benefits. But even then every garden has its share of issues no matter the size or type that must be dealt with.
Working in the field of landscape and gardening for many years I have had to deal with many uninvited pests that sort to make a meal out of those beautiful gardens that I labored so hard on.
Two pests, in particular, that is a real menace are snails and slugs.
Garden snails and slugs
A question I want to ask here, what is the difference between snails and slugs or are they the same?
Your Question answered.
Snails and slugs are not the same. Snails have shells whereas slugs don’t. But their damage to plant life is still the same.
How do slugs and snails feed
Slugs feed on dead garden animals, tender your plants, rotten matter, fungi, decomposing plants, and even paper.
Snails feed on the leaves of living plants, fruits, stems, barks, young tender plant roots, and flowers.
Signs of snails and slugs in the garden
Besides seeing these pests in your garden there are other signs that suggest the presence of these uninvited guess.
Signs of snails
Signs of snails may include a clear substance that leaves a trail, in some case, it looks really gross, this substance is known as mucus and helps the snail to move over soil surface easily.
Another sign of snails in your garden is the leaves don’t only have this mucus which some folks call slime but holes can be seen in the leaves
Slugs and snails feed on edible and non-edible plants
Signs of slugs
The signs of slugs and snails are closely related. With slugs, you will notice a clear while smiley substance and large ragged holes in flowers and leaves of tender plants.
As you continue your detective work you will also in some cases notice this clear slime on the soil surface that will give clear evidence of which direction the slug is headed in.
Signs of snail and slug damage
This photo shows a snail feeding on a plant. The damage is the same with slugs. Notice the severe damage to the leaves, if left unchecked they can really cause destruction making your garden look like a graveyard.
Controlling snails and slugs in the garden
Even though snails and slugs cause damage to plant life the good news, however, is there are measures that can be taken to bring these garden pest under control to not only ensure your garden plants survival but to ensure that you yield a good harvest. Whats the use of all that hard work and not being able to reap the rewards.
Are you a sooty mold detective?
One of the surest ways to ensure that our plants are healthy at all times is to do a garden inspection or scouting and what that means is putting on those comfortable shoes and with a hand lens, pen and notepad walking about in your garden and recording any findings that may be a threat to plant life.
In other words, you become a plant detective which is great because this is a sure way to notice and control any plant issues in the early stages.
As a groundsman, this was one of my duties and I was amazed at what I found in the garden. There are so many issues you will come across at times that will mean the difference between life or death of that plant.
In this article, however, we will be looking at how to identify sooty mold and how to control or eradicate them keeping our plants healthy and happy.
Sooty mold identification
Have you ever taken a walk in your garden and notice the foliage or leaves of your plants covered with a black substance? this is known as sooty mold. In severe cases, this mold may spread to the stems and fruits of your plant.
To the inexperienced, this looks like dirt as in this photo. Trying to give your plant a shower with a garden hose my remove some of the molds but the amount that is removed is not that great, other measures must be taken to bring these molds under control.
Another way to know if your garden plants are being attacked by sooty mold is to look for ants. If there is a heavy population of ants then this just may be a sign that your plant has sooty mold.
The reason why ants appear is that the ants are attracted to and feed on this sugary secretion that is known as honeydew.This sugar substance if you make contact with it is very sticky.
How does sooty mold affect plant life?
Sooty mold takes away from the beauty of garden plants, giving them a sickly appearance that becomes an eyesore. Sooty mold also interferes with plants being able to produce its food.
Plants use water, carbon dioxide, and the sunlight, convert these to sugar and then take them up through their roots, the mold covering plant leaves makes it very difficult for plants by acting as a barrier to plant leaves being able to absorb sunlight.
Who or what causes sooty mold?
When these insect’s secrets they secrete a sugary substance stated earlier known as honeydew from honeydew dew molds are formed.
How does all of this work?
Plants that are stressed become victims of these garden pest, it is very important that we choose the right plant for the right location, know their water requirements, fertilize them according to their needs, proper pruning methods and so on can help to keep garden plants healthy
but when we neglect to follow these garden rules which are laws of the garden, plants will become sickly and attacked by these garden pest.
while it is true that the best-kept garden may also come under attack by these garden pest the truth is our garden plants stand a better chance of surviving when they are healthy.
Winning the war on insects pest
Insect pest seems to be a continuous problem for the homeowner. Nothing is more disturbing than to see your garden that is growing so beautifully overtaken by these uninvited guess.
In this article, we will be looking at these insects pest and how to identify them.
Sucking insects are insects that have piercing-sucking mouthparts. These insects pierce the leaf cells and suck the juice. The saliva of some of these insects are toxic and spreads viruses.
Sucking insects cause leaf drop, the leaves begin to turn yellow and then brown signifying that the cells are dead. Also sucking insects secrets a sugary substance that is known as honeydew.
From this dew, molds are formed on the leaf surface. This mold is black and really cause plants to look sickly and unattractive. This mold can further interfere with photosynthesis, causing the plants to be unable to produce its own foods.
Among many of these sucking insects includes
- Spider mites
- Stink bugs
And an effective way to control these insects is by using systemic control. Systemic pesticides absorb in the plant’s system when the insects begin its feeding, these chemicals are ingested by insects pest.
Winning the war on insects have never been easier, with the many methods we have at our disposal. These methods include biological, mechanical, intergraded pest management, and of course chemical control. This is another link that you can check out. Controlling insects with birds.
what we will be looking at however is how to eliminate insects by the use of plant parts. The use of botanical insecticides is not new but is a method that has been around for some time.
Botanical insecticides have its advantages and disadvantages which we will also be looking at.
The extract from plants parts is compounded and formulated to accomplish this goal. A plant that is used in this process is the chrysanthemums. This is pretty neat because it shows how beneficial plants are to us, we can use them in so many ways.
Some botanicals are low to moderate and can be used around mammals but a word of warning here is to be careful when using because skin exposure and inhalation of some of them can cause death because of the nicotine and other active ingredients in these chemicals.
The timing of treatment must be right because botanicals break down rather quickly when exposed to sunlight, air, and moisture. When this happens the chemicals become weaken or loses its strength and becomes less effective in eliminating pest insects.
A. The neem tree is responsible for the chemical compounds linalool and limonene and is used in pet shampoos and dips. It may be used to control pests such as aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, thrips and other insect pests.
B. Sabadilla is effective in eliminating insects as squash and the harlequin bugs.
C. Daisy is responsible for the compounds known as the pyrethrins and pyrethrum. These insecticides are effective against mosquitoes, fleas, and flies.
D. Ryania is also a chemical compound that is effective on thrips, aphids and other soft body insects they suck sap from plants. This chemical may be applied to crops such as citrus, pears, walnuts, and apples.