Garden Pest Control

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Water Garden is Pest Deterrent DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited This water garden, surrounded by borders planted with a wide range of flowering perennials, makes the perfect home for beneficial bugs, slug-hunting amphibians, and insect-eating birds.

By encouraging natural predators, following good garden practice, and making regular checks on your plants, you can keep many pests at bay. Aim to create conditions that support a healthy balance of predators and their prey, and you will limit the damage and need fewer chemical controls.

Keeping Pests at Bay

Pest patrol should begin when you buy new plants or accept leafy gifts. Unwelcome visitors also fly or crawl in from neighboring gardens, so keep your eyes peeled and take prompt action.

Reducing the Risk

To prevent a plague of pests, avoid growing large areas of one type of plant. It is more difficult for pests to home in on their target when confronted by a variety of different plants, such as perennials, annuals, and shrubs, as well as herbs, vegetables, and fruit. The abundant nectar also draws in beneficial insects. Don’t overfeed plants because aphids love the resulting soft growth.

Be Vigilant

Use a hand lens to scan flower buds, shoot tips, and the undersides of leaves for mites, aphids, and whitefly. Also look for grubs or nibbled roots when you take plants out of their pots, and search for caterpillars on rolled or skeletonized leaves. A night-time foray with a flashlight
will reveal nocturnal pests, such as slugs and snails; seek them out during the day by checking under pots. Weed regularly, and look out for pest hideouts.

Neaten potential slug and snail roosting sites (image 1).

Check buds and shoot tips for aphids (image 2).

Pick off larger pests, such as lily beetle, by hand (image 3).

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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