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8 Ways to Control Common Garden Pests

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Summer means the garden is bursting with flowers, fruits and vegetables, but it also means the unwelcome arrival of the garden pest. Here are our techniques for controlling common garden pests including snails, slugs, aphides and caterpillars.

ladybird and greenfly on plant1. Take Advantage of Pests’ Natural Enemies

Not all insects are bad. Insects such as parasitic wasps, ladybirds, spiders and ground beetles are all beneficial to a garden as they prey on pests. Look out for these garden-friendly insects and try to encourage them into your garden by planting pollen and nectar producing plants.

2. Use Barriers

Create a physical barrier to stop pests getting to your fruit and vegetables. There are a number of ways to do this but one of the easiest is to use a fine net. Position the net over your plants, leaving enough space for the plant to grow.

Adding a cardboard collar around the stem of a plant and pressed into the soil an inch or so deep, will prevent cutworms and other burrowing insects from getting to your plants through the soil.

marigold to repel pests3. Companion Planting

Some plants produce a natural insect repellent, which makes them very beneficial when planted next to crops, and this is known as companion planting. Planting garlic among vegetables helps to deter Japanese beetles, aphides and spider mites; basil planted near tomatoes repels tomato hornworms; and marigolds planted with squash or cucumbers repels cucumber beetles and nematodes.

4. Keep Your Soil Healthy

Healthy soil produces stronger plants that have better resistance to any damage incurred by insects. Before planting, turn over the soil and add organic matter such as manure or compost to supply essential nutrients.

snail eating cabbage in garden5. Hand Pick Larger Pests

Hand picking larger pests such as slugs, snails and caterpillars can be quite efficient, especially in a small garden. If you’re feeling squeamish, don a pair of gardening gloves.

6. Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is the practice of planting different kinds of vegetables in different sections of your garden each year, which helps reduce pest infestation. Some insects like to spend the winter underground and reappear in the spring to search for food. If the plant they eat has been relocated, the insect is forced to move to the source of food, which puts them in danger of attack by birds and other insects.

7. Slug Beer Trap

Many garden pests can be lured into traps. A popular example is the beer trap for slugs and snails.

spraying lettuce with pesticide8. Pesticides

Many different types of pesticide are now available in stores to help combat and control unwanted pests in the garden; here are just a few:

  • Slug pellets - bright blue pellets that are simply sprinkled around plants to kill slugs and snails that would otherwise eat and destroy your plants. These pellets are quick and effective.
  • Spray chemicals - a liquid form of pesticide applied with a handheld sprayer. They are readily available in Topline stores in a wide variety of formulations. Ask in store for the best product to suit your needs.
  • Organic pesticides - contain no chemicals but still kill unwanted pests, ideal for use on fruit and vegetables.
Remember to always store pesticides out of reach of children and always read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

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