Pest control in your garden can be a pain, especially if you decide not to use any chemicals to keep the pests at bay. I love my garden and try – as much as possible – to avoid using any chemicals in it. Besides, I want my garden to be a safe place for my family and for wild birds and other creatures.
I know that in order to have a thriving garden, at least a part of your time has to be dedicated to (at best) preventing the pests from coming to your garden in the first place, or (at least) keeping them under control. Here are some great ways to deal with pest control in your garden. You can also see this page for more on the outdoor areas.
Use prevention for pest control in your garden
In some cases it’s possible to prevent pests from taking over your garden in the first place. There are three major actions you can take to ensure this.
1. Encourage natural predators
Aphids can completely take over your rose plants in the space of a couple of weeks. They’re ugly, sticky and hard to get rid of. However, ladybirds (ladybugs) and hoverflies etc., love aphids and can chomp through them in record time. It make sense therefore, to encourage these insects in your garden and they’ll work for you. Plant lavender, sage and/or rosemary (all of which don’t require much attention) in a corner of your garden and these insects will love you. Let them thrive and you won’t have to deal with large amounts of aphids.
2. Encourage wild birds in your garden
All you need is a couple of bird feeders/seeds hung strategically on trees in your garden. Birds don’t require much. And if you have the space, why not provide a small bird bath as well. Keep the bird food topped up properly and they’ll have fun eating the caterpillars and slugs in your garden. More birds mean fewer pests. Of course, they probably won’t eat all of the caterpillars and slugs, but they’ll definitely keep them under control for you.
Porcupines are also known for eating slugs and snails, so if you can, keep some old wood in a dark, private corner of the garden where they can hide out and feel safe. They’ll come out at night and early in the morning to feast on some slimy, undesirable creatures on your behalf.
4. Discourage neighbours pets from using your garden
Pest control in your garden does not only stop with little creatures. In my experience, neighbours’ pet cats can be a nuisance. They can, in a lot of ways, prevent you from enjoying your garden properly. They dig up little plants so they can use the space as a toilet and can even kill young birds you’re trying to keep safe in your garden. Prevent cats from coming into your garden by scattering mothballs and chilli over the bits they’re likely to visit. (You may have to re-apply the chilli after the rain). They don’t like prickly holly leaves either. Some people also use sonic deterrents, but be careful with these if you have rabbits, as they’ll be affected too.
Organise pest control in your garden by putting up a fight
Fight pests without chemicals
Many of us choose not to use chemicals in our garden for controlling pests. Here are some simple ways you can control the common pests without chemicals.
Slugs and snails
Use sharp sand, grit or eggshells around plants like hostas, which the slugs and snails like. Some people also swear by putting copper pipes or copper tape around the plants, but this has never worked for me. Maybe it will for you. I use non-toxic slug pellets, which do a very good job. I always have to re-apply after heavy rain.
Caterpillars and white flies
Use horticultural fleece (this works very well) over your plants which are loved by caterpillars and white flies. If you can get a very fine mesh and erect them above and around the plants, this will work well too. The flies and caterpillars can’t get to them.
Aphids and other tiny insects
I sometimes pick off aphids after spraying them with a mixture of washing up liquid and water. This mixture seems to stunt them and make them easy to pick off. If you don’t want to do this, another very effective way of staving off aphids is to plant strong-smelling plants like marigolds or chives next to your crops. They can’t stand the smell and will stay away.
Hang sticky pheromone tapes in your greenhouse or tree (any area around which is infected by them). They get trapped in the tape and can’t do much damage. There are also wasp traps you can get to hang in fruit trees.
Closing note about using pesticides for pest control in your garden
Sometimes it’s not possible to control pests in your garden by the methods outlined above. If you’ve tried these and failed, then you may feel that you want to use garden pesticides to control the pests. Please take a moment to read the cautions below before you make this decision.
Once you’ve used garden pesticide you need to get rid of the remaining parts you haven’t used responsibly. You can check online to see what the procedure is for your local area.
Never remove pesticide from its original container and store it elsewhere. Always make sure that the other people who use your garden can identify the pesticide if they come across it when you’re not there. Maybe place it in a designated cupboard, or at least, make it clear the product is not to be used.
Always follow instructions when using garden pesticides.
Lastly, but importantly, children and pets must be kept away from the area after you’ve used garden pesticides. It can be very dangerous to their health.
If you have any other tips and advice on pest control in your garden, please share them in the comment section below. Please also share this article on your social networking sites. I appreciate your help. Thank you!