As the growing season gears up, so does the bug season. While all may be peaceful right now, it won’t be long before we start seeing grasshoppers, caterpillars, blister beetles, and other unwelcome visitors in our gardens.
Now is the time to remember the old cliché: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
So, what are some steps you can take to deter the guests before they arrive?
- Water your plants. Insect pests typically prefer to attack stressed plants, so keep your garden healthy. As temperatures rise, make sure all your fruits and vegetables are adequately watered.
- Remove dead and dying plant material. Bugs like stressed plants, remember? Most garden plants can tolerate a little pruning when needs be. Any time you see dead plants, diseased foliage, or rotting produce, dispose of it at once.
- Introduce predators. This could be a couple of well-behaved guineas, or it could even be more bugs. Although you can buy a swarm of ladybugs, sometimes the best bet is just to relocate a predator you already have on your property. For instance, the garden spider in your garage might actually enjoy living outdoors better once he gets used to the change. Most helpful predators, however, will naturally feel welcome in a diverse garden free of toxic chemicals.
- Mulch selectively. Mulch is very useful for keeping the soil moist and the weeds under control, but sometimes it provides hiding places for your unwelcome guests. Squash bugs, for instance, love to lurk in the privacy of a thick straw mulch. If you know you have a pest with an affinity for mulch, spread the straw and leaves a little thinner and water more frequently.
- Mow the surrounding area. Keep the grass short around your garden. Don’t leave inviting hiding places to serve as bases for insect attacks.
Notice that keeping plants healthy and destroying the haunts of harmful bugs are crucial to preventing a major onslaught.
You may still see a few bad bugs and a little bit of plant damage, but you should manage to avoid an infestation with the help of these tips. Good luck!
Why Are Healthy Plants Bug-Resistant?
This post has the answers.