Many garden pests wreak havoc on plants, particularly slugs, aphids and spider mites. To keep your garden safe this season, first identify pests and then treat the problem. Be diligent and spot check your garden regularly.
Identify the Culprits:
- See shredded or eaten leaves? Slugs and snails feast by night or on overcast days. They hide by day.
- See a sticky liquid and a black, sooty mold? Or yellow, distorted leaves and buds? Aphids suck juices out of plants and eventually kill them. This sticky mess also attracts ants and other insects.
- See yellow-spotted leaves and tiny red, green or yellow bumps? Spider mites may be your concern. To confirm, hold a sheet of white paper beneath leaves and tap stem. If mites are present, they’ll appear as moving specks.
5 Ways to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails:
1. Hand-picking is an easy way to control slugs and snails, which are slugs with a shell.
2. Set a trap. Pour beer into a shallow dish with the rim even with soil. Slugs will crawl in and drown. Replenish daily.
3. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around tender plants. Slugs will not cross this barrier because it cuts their soft skin. Reapply after a hard rain.
4. Wrap stems with copper bands or tape.
5. Sprinkle a non-toxic bait with iron phosphate around plants in the evening, following label instructions. This is safe for pets and wildlife.
4 Ways to Get Rid of Aphids and Spider Mites:
1. Spray outdoor plants with a hose and isolate until pests are gone.
2. Cut infested parts and discard. Leave enough foliage for your plant to survive.
3. If pests return, spray with a soap solution of 2 teaspoons dishwashing soap mixed with 1 gallon water. Spray to thoroughly coat the stems and both sides of leaves.
4. Still seeing signs? Use an insecticidal soap, Neem oil or other pesticide control and follow directions.
Ladybugs and other natural predators feed on many garden pests. Attract ladybugs to your garden with herbs like dill and fennel, also sweet alyssum and yarrow. If you introduce a natural predator like ladybugs, do not use chemical insecticides.