Pest-Prone Plants

When you're shopping for new plants, save yourself some heartache down the road and look for tolerance to disease and insects.

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Chinese junipers (Juniperus chinensis) — here 'Sea Green' — usually exhibit a rugged resistance that's not necessarily shared by other members of the juniper family. Shore junipers (J. conferta) suffer from dieback. Creeping junipers (J. horizontalis), widely used as groundcovers, are susceptible to blight and spider mites.

If you're shopping for new plants and you'd like them to stay as healthy as possible, consider the following:

  • Learn which trees, shrubs, vegetables, perennials, annuals and herbs are experiencing pest problems in your area. Which pests or diseases are the culprits?


  • Do a little research before you go shopping. You won't find disease — and insect-resistance mentioned on most plant labels. Consult trusted sources — extension agents, books, online resources—to find the most resistant cultivars in a particular species.

  • Consult local extension specialists and trusted nurserymen. A plant that's pest-prone in one part of the country may be very resistant in another, and vice versa.

  • If you can't find resistant cultivars, consider another species. There are dozens of trees and shrubs that can thrive in a tough environment.

  • Remember that if a plant is stressed for any reason — incompatible soil or light conditions, too much or too little water, etc. — it's going to be vulnerable for attack. The reverse is also true: Plants that are known to be susceptible to pests and disease can sometimes avoid them with extra coddling.
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