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Waging Warfare on Pests..

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Waging Warfare on Pests..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/19/2011, 1:03 am

'Tis the time of year when pests are at their most abundant in the northern hemisphere. So, I figure it's timely to pop an article out regarding the basics of the common battles.

War Declared
Once pests of diseases attack a plant, it can be critical to assess and treat the issue as quickly as possible in the effort to prevent crop loss. To go on the offensive quickly, the single most important thing to do is get into the habit of checking your garden frequently for signs of attack. Just like watering and weeding, pest prevention requires frequency.

Most of us want to keep chemicals as far away from the garden as possible. However, it's important to note that pesticide companies know this and are adjusting. They are constantly trying to produce products that are shorter-lived and safer, often times using naturally occuring ingredients. Here are a few simple methods to try before resorting to the nuclear arsenal.

Handpicking
For your larger insects, like caterpillars and beetles, you can just pick them off and drop them into a bowl of soapy water. Or, just give them a flick towards the nearest garden exit. If too many, place something under the plant and give it a shake. A strong jet of water will knock smaller buggies off, such as aphids.

Trapping
Place a trap into the ground to catch slugs and snails. Fill the trap with some diluted beer to attract snails and slugs. However, keep the rim of the container just above ground to avoid trapping ground beetles, which are beneficial.

Snipers
These are your beneficial insects. Either attract them to your garden area or buy them from a local specialty supply store or even on the internet. Ladybugs are famous for attacking aphids, but lacewings will also prey on aphids and other insects. Nematodes will attack snails and slugs. And, some bacteria will attack caterpillars. Bear in mind this method is intended to keep infestations under control, not to completely wipe out pests. When the population of aphids lessens, your ladybugs will fly off elsewhere.

Common Pests

BEETLES AND BUGS
Handpick or use soapy water or even fatty acids to repel/remove the problems.

APHIDS
Pick off infested leaves or shoots. Also, knock them off with a strong stream of water from the hose. Insecticides with soapy water or fatty acids also show decent results.

CARROT RUST FLIES
Benefical nematodes and/or floating row covers.

CATERPILLARS
Handpick. Bacterial controls and/or nematodes.

SLUGS AND SNAILS
Handpick or use traps. Also introduce nematodes.

Plant Diseases
Prevention is your best method of attack when it comes to diseases. Many diseases are actually fungi that thrive in moist, still conditions. So, watch your plant spacing and avoid watering in evenings or at night. Good airflow and proper watering techniques are usually enough, but not always.

Some diseases are viruses. Viral infestations are difficult to control.

Common Diseases

BLOSSOM END ROT
Don't allow tomatoes and peppers to run short on water. Adding a handful of lime to a watering can may prove beneficial, too.

BOTRYTIS
Remove and destoy ALL affected plant materials.

DAMPING OFF
Increase the ventilation around seedlings. Avoid overcrowding when sowing.

POTATO BLIGHT
Fungicides may help if applied early enough. Remove affected areas and harvest fruits before disease has a chance to spread.

MILDEW
Improve airflow around plants and pick off affected leaves.

VIRUSES
Remove and burn affected plant. Control aphids, which spread viral diseases.


This is a VERY basic summary of some common problems you may encounter. For more details, search the forum, ask a question, or check your local extension office.

Happy Gardening!
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BackyardBirdGardner

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Re: Waging Warfare on Pests..

Post  FarmerValerie on 7/19/2011, 8:36 am

cheers cheers cheers
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