Sunday, June 27, 2010


It seems no matter how hard we try, we are always fighting  PESTS IN THE GARDEN.  There are more than 50,000 different insects in Utah, but the majority of those don't bother the plants, they eat other insects.  But the 100 or so that do damage to our plants make it pretty frustrating, to say the least!  But, we can diminish the problems with these pests if we follow some guidelines in  the garden:  (1)  Water the SOIL, not the PLANTS   (2)  Don't over water  (3)  If any plant is diseased, remove it immediately  (4)  Keep the garden area cleaned up, free from old leaves or dead flowers  (5)  Plants need good circulation--don't over-crowd  (6)  Experts also tell us to rotate flowers regularly  (7)  Fertilize if needed, and  (8)  Choose plants that are disease or pest resistant .   When you first see signs of a problem it's important to find out what it really is.  There's no sense applying pest control methods if it's wrong.  Over the years I have learned to identify certain problems that, if taken care of promptly, have been lessened to a large degree, and in some cases, alleviated completely.    Two of these problems have been slugs and snails, and aphids.  I regularly went out at night "hunting down" slugs and snails.  I would go out about 9 or 10:00, armed with a flashlight and ziplock baggie.  (I now have a head lamp that my kids gave me for Christmas--so my hands are free.  I really like using it).  I found many, and I just put them in the baggie and then threw it in the trash when done collecting.  After doing this regularly for a few years, I have minimal slugs and snails.  We were told at Temple Square to never smash them, because their eggs can still hatch with as many as 100 new snails.  I am still on the lookout for them, and use a slug and snail bait.  I sprinkle the pellets sparingly along the curbing and the fence retaining cement wall.  This has done a great job!  Several companies make it.  I prefer the pellets.  Some are water resistant, and work for up tp 4 weeks.  Other pests that need control are aphids--they get on the new growth  of plants, especially the roses.  I use a rose systemic on them, and use it every month or two, depending on the year and the weather we've had.  I've seen some aphids this week, and so I could even use a stream of water to wash them off the plants.  They rarely seem to crawl back up the plant.  Another thing I've seen this week is the damage from spider mites.  I haven't had this problem before, but first thing tomorrow I need to spray some insecticidal soap or pyrethrin on a few of the tall oriental and Asiatic lilies.  I recognized the problem from the webbing on the plants and leaves.  They suck the buds and leaves of plants, leaving them dry, and the buds usually fall off without blooming, or else the bloom is small and usually falls off.  They are so small, but if you take a piece of paper and shake the plant a little, you can see the tiny mites as they fall onto the paper.  Many mites and insects go through multiple generations in just one season.  So, it really pays to control the pests in the very earliest stages.  A good stream of water is sometimes one of the quickest and easiest ways to curb them.  Since I use soaker hoses, this is one problem that can actually be helped with overhead water use.  Most insecticides only last 1-4 weeks so you have to re-apply,  and sometimes their use is the only  way to control pests.  I use pesticides only as a last resort, though.  One year I sent for 1,000 "stay-home" ladybugs, and several preying matis eggsacs.  They were just marginally effective, though.  The lady bugs did not "stay home", but I really enjoyed the preying matis.  I think the best way to control pests, though, are the first 8  ideas mentioned here.  Whatever your problem, you can go to the internet and look them up and find out good information in helping you control your particular problem.  Remember, consistency and staying on top of things before the problem gets out of control will pay off in the long run.   Happy Gardening!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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