A common question a landscaper will get is “What can I do to become better at managing garden pests.” Popular adversaries of the gardening world are pests. They are known while others are unknown, seen and others unseen having a negative influence on flowers, trees and vegetables. They affect the growth, health and appearances of a garden. No need to feel defeated upon the discovery of garden pests (four-legged or six to eight-legged) as it can be looked upon as a chance to be proactive and learn the external factors of a growing space.
Some actions of pest management can be time consuming and unpleasant. Those actions are the sacrifices made to have a beautiful fragrant flower garden or an abundant yield from a vegetable garden despite threatening foes. Pests are influential enemies of the gardening world but they offer a chance to learn from their presence in growing spaces.
Here are some well-known garden pests:
- White flies
- Japanese beetle
- Rodents (squirrels and rabbits)
Organic Pest Management
Working against garden pests can be done organically (also known as organic pest management or integrated pest management). Organic pest management is used without the use of man-made chemical substances that can rid garden pests but at the expense of harming plants, people and pets. Creating healthy soil, growing healthy plants and practising companion plantings are methods of organic pest control that have been used long before the use of harsh chemical insecticides. These and other organic treatments discourage favourable conditions for pests to thrive and dominate garden spaces.
Neem Oil for Insect Pests
Neem oil is a natural non-toxic solution to controlling and eliminating unwanted insect garden pests. It is extracted from Azadriachtaindica trees native to India and has insecticide, pesticide and anti-fungal properties; it is mixed in water to apply as a spray on garden plants repelling and killing invasive pests such as aphids and whiteflies.
Essential oils such as peppermint (for ridding ants, aphids, moths and gnats) and lemongrass (for controlling fleas, mosquitoes and beetles) can also be used as natural pesticides. Garden solar bug zappers eliminate insects that are not exposed to these oils. Neem oil is an organic pest management solution that controls and rids garden spaces of unwanted visitors.
There are unconventional (man-made/animal) means of deterring animal pest of gardens. These are inexpensive and easier ways to prevent squirrels, rabbits and gophers from destroying and eating plants in growing spaces. Here are some options:
- Dog hair: Intimidates small animals discouraging them from going into a garden space.
- Human male urine: Has a hormone notifying smaller species of an alpha species nearby
Climate zones affect the life cycle of garden pests. The cold climate of zone 4 has a shorter growing season of 113 days. Although pests prefer wet warm climates, climate change can cause mild winters in zone 4; this encourages longer cocooning cycles of pests like the Japanese beetle during the growing season creating infestations in gardens. Using non-manmade organic pest management options shared in this blog can help with these potential infestations.