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Spring is here, and our previous articles were about spring cleaning the garden. But now that your garden is ready, you face another problem with garden pests.
Yes, it is the time of the year that hungry bugs can cause havoc to your healthy plants. So, today Plantly dedicates this article to helping you prevent garden pests from leaving your healthy garden looking dull.
While preventing garden pests should start in winter, you might not have the chance because of the bitter cold. But now that the weather warms up, you can take some preventative measures.
So, check out the following tips to ensure a beautiful garden free of sap-sucking pests.
Common Garden Pests Found in a Spring Garden
One of the best defense techniques against garden insects to prevent infestations is to check your plants.
When you do this daily, you can control and prevent nibbling on your plants. Of course, you must examine the leaves and stems for harmful beetles and other bugs to do this. At the same time, you need to know the signs and destructive pests lurking in your garden.
When you know the signs of a pest infestation that harm plants, you can use the correct pest control to keep your young plants healthy.
What Does a Pest Infestation Look Like?
Now that you know that you need to inspect your indoor plants‘ foliage, what should you look for:
Look for holes in leaves
Look for discoloration and fallen leaves
Leaves curling or droopy foliage
Severed young plants in flower beds or seedlings in crops
Slime or sticky webbing on the leaves and stems
If any of these signs are present, our best bet is that you have bugs in the yard and need to know what insects they are to control them.
Common Bugs Found in The Garden
In the garden, you get beneficial insects and bad bugs. So you do not want to use pest control to harm your good insects. When you have bees, worms, butterflies, and spiders, these are beneficial bugs leaving the garden looking healthy.
But other insects as follow ruin your hard work.
APHIDS ARE A COMMON GARDEN PEST
Usually, aphids do not cause significant harm to the landscape unless they carry a virus. Nonetheless, these insects can bring viruses like the cucumber mosaic virus to your crops and other plants.
So if you notice the leaves yellowed and twisted with stunted growth, aphids can be the problem.
You can find aphids on your plant’s stems, leaves, and flowers, and it is a tiny feeder. The pest has a pear-shaped body ranging in color from gray, green, brown, red, or black. When at the larval stage, you cannot easily spot them.
The easier way to know if it is an aphid is to look for two cornicles at the end of the abdomen.
STRIPED FLEA BEETLES
The striped flea beetles cause the most damage in the garden as they emerge from the winter homes with debris to feed on young plants. Over winter, they start laying eggs, and the larvae feed on the roots while adults make small holes in the foliage.
These beetles you find on the leaves cause irregular holes. The adult is black with a wavy yellow line on the wing. The eggs are white and oval, while the larva is white with a brown head with three pairs of legs, and the pupa is white.
Squash bugs work in a colony and pierce vines with their mouths. Then, they inject a toxic substance into the plant, sucking its nutrients. Eventually, your plants turn black and move to other parts, causing yellow spots on the leaves, making them turn brown and wilt.
We recommend keeping an eye on the underside of the leaves and the base of the plant. Adults are dark brown with gray markings on the back with yellow undersides. The egg looks like a white diamond but turns yellow-brown before turning bronze.
The nymph can be green with red legs and a head with antennae. The remaining ones are gray-white with dark heads, antennae, and legs. They can have two visible wing pads.
THE MOST common garden pests:
Another notable thing is that when you see an army of ants traveling up your plants, you can be assured some bad bugs are around. The reason is that ants are attracted to the sticky substances left behind by some insects.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Now that we have looked at the pest infestation signs you notice in early spring in the garden. How do you go ahead in preventing garden pests? Here are some tips you can follow to keep your garden pest-free.
Cultivate Healthy Soil
Healthy soil helps your plants build a strong immune system, as it is an excellent start to preventing pests. Using a natural fertilizer like fish and seaweed fertilizers once a month helps activate the soil microbes to keep the soil and your plant healthy.
Choose Pest Resistant Plant Varieties
This tip is an easy one for preventing pests in the garden. You can find different varieties of plants that are naturally resistant to pests. So mix your plants in flower beds to veg plots with resistant varieties available to naturally repel pests.
Choose a Suitable Spot For Plants
When planting your plants place cultivars that need full sun together and likewise place others with the same watering needs together. It is important for a plant that needs full sun to stand in a sunny spot, not full shade, as it will weaken them.
Introduce Natural Predators to The Garden
Whether you have mild or heavy infestations introducing predatory insects like parasitic wasps to birds and good bugs will help. Place a bird bath in the garden to attract birds that enjoy eating pests.
Pest Control Repelling Them With Herbs
Herbal pesticides are low-cost yet not harmful to crops and other plants in your garden. It also helps deter pests planted among your other plants and veg. It is one of the easiest ways to prevent garden pests. These include plants like garlic, calendula, and coriander. Grow thyme, anise hyssop, or chives for the edge of gardens.
Another great plant to repel insects naturally is lemon balm.
For your vegetable garden, it helps to do crop rotation as it confuses pests. It also allows you to manage soil fertility.
We recommend allowing three years between planting members of the same crop family in the same spot. We know it is difficult, but if you find pests in an area, do not plant veg there for two years.
Alternatively, you can plant a cover crop allowing the spot to rest for that season.
Alternate Specific Flowers and Crops
To prevent pests from using harmful pesticides for pest control, alternate the rows of plants with some plants that attract beneficial insects. For example, grow calendula, cilantro, or onions with your cabbage family.
Make Use of a Floating Row Cover
With a floating row cover, it allows light and water while it deters pests. You can place it over seedlings until they become established. Most importantly, lift the covers for a few hours in the morning to allow the pollinators in.
Form Permanent Walkways
When you form permanent walkways with wood chips, gravel, or white clover, it attracts natural predators to stay. Hence, you are not tilling over the walkways destroying their habitat.
Keep Your Hands on an Outbreak
We recommend removing the infested plants for a heavy infestation of bugs to prevent the damage from spreading. But to treat the infestation, you must identify the pest and the natural predators that can help fight it.
Keep Gardening Supplies Clean
When you keep your garden tools to supplies clean, it also helps to protect your plants. Before you use your shears or a trowel, disinfect it. Use clean containers to pots before placing new plants in them.
Removing Pests From The Garden
If you have noticed pest problems, we recommend using plant-based to organic pesticides to remove them. Still, it all depends on the bug you have that eats the foliage of your plants.
Many solutions, like soapy water to neem oil, make for an excellent treatment against infestation in the garden. We do not recommend chemical pesticide sprays as it is unhealthy for you and your plants. Yet, you can spray a plant-based insecticide spray as well.
Most importantly, try to attract beneficial insects to help remove unwanted pests.
As we reach the end of keeping pests away from the garden. We want to leave two more helpful tips for your outdoor plants to stay healthy. First, sometimes it helps to be proactive instead of reactive.
Pest outbreaks are a great way to learn how to strengthen the gardens’ ecosystems. For example, you can know if the soil lacks minerals making plants sick to catch a bug. Suppose that is the case with what organic material can you add more nutrients?
Yes, having some good bugs to bad ones is part of gardening, even if they eat plants. But it does remind you to work together with nature instead of against it. So, instead of waging war on nature, even if it takes patience learn from it.
Creating a physical barrier the whole time is not always possible in the yard. So, instead, grab a notepad to track the pests. Instead, note the different insects to beetles that show up. Then, make notes of the treatments you have tried and what the outcome was.
With some detective work, you can determine the areas to focus on in preventing garden pests. When you prevent pests naturally, you can strengthen the immune system of your garden, and it will not catch a bug. Happy gardening.
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