What Should I Know About Garden Pest Control?

N. Phipps

Few gardens are immune from pests. While most garden pest control is accomplished simply through prevention, there are no guarantees. Prevention includes growing pest-resistant plants, keeping the garden and surrounding area clean, and frequently checking the garden for potential problems. Even with the utmost preventative care taken, pests like insects, weeds, and animals can still pop up unexpectedly. When these problems do occur, other garden pest control measures may be required.

Ladybugs eat many types of garden pests.
Ladybugs eat many types of garden pests.

Unfortunately, many people solve their pest problems with chemicals. However, this garden pest control method is not recommended and should only be used as a last resort. Chemicals are not good for the environment or overall garden health. They can seep into the ground, contaminating soil. They can be found in rain runoff, contaminating water sources. Chemical pest control products threaten the health and safety of plants and animals, including humans.

A flying cockroach.
A flying cockroach.

Insects are some of the most commonly targeted pests in garden pest control. However, before resorting to the use of chemicals, it’s often better to practice more natural forms of pest control. Many small insects, like aphids, can be hosed or sprayed off with water or homemade soap sprays. Larger ones, such as caterpillars, can easily be picked off by hand. There are also numerous types of beneficial insects, which will seek out and destroy harmful garden bugs.

Vinegar, which can be used for pest control.
Vinegar, which can be used for pest control.

The use of row covers and guards may be helpful as well when controlling these pests. Keeping weeds down and brush cleared in and around the garden can also alleviate problems with insect pests. Weeds are often considered annoying pests in the garden too. While they are a nuisance, weeds can usually be taken care of quite easily. In addition to pulling weeds, there are many natural alternatives available, such as vinegar solutions, which will help control weeds.

Inchworms and other insect larvae can be pests in the garden.
Inchworms and other insect larvae can be pests in the garden.

Organic forms of pest control are also available but should be used with care as well. While many of these garden pest control products are labeled as safe, some of them still contain inert ingredients, which can harm beneficial insects and plants. In addition to insect pests and weeds, animals can pose a threat to the garden. As with insects, most animals are drawn to gardens by nearby weeds and grass. Therefore, keeping this growth cleared is the best form of animal garden pest control.

Animals also come in search of food, especially when their food supply is low. Before using chemicals, or even organic products, however, consider other garden pest control methods that are more natural. For instance, natural spray repellents are an option. There are many products on the market that deter animals, such as fencing. While these too are good alternatives, they can get expensive.

One of the best forms of garden pest control is the incorporation of unfavorable plants. Growing plants that animals do not like, such as daffodils, is a great way to discourage them from the garden.

Weeds, which are often considered pests, can be pulled out of gardens.
Weeds, which are often considered pests, can be pulled out of gardens.

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