If you have a garden, you know upkeep is important. From consistent watering and sunlight to careful weeding and the unique needs of specific plants, the avid gardener has a lot to focus on. After all this hard work, there’s nothing worse than watching pests damage your plants and undo your efforts. There are plenty of ways to eliminate these unwanted intruders, but you may worry about the risks of harsh chemicals near your food, family, and pets. Fortunately, Horizon Pest Control has a few suggestions for natural garden pest control to safeguard your harvest and your loved ones.
Removal by hand is one of the simplest ways to eliminate garden pests. While this method is only truly effective for larger, easy-to-grab pests, like slugs or hornworms, it is straightforward, free, and won’t require any chemical pesticides.
Aside from your handpicking efforts, certain animals can also promote an insect-free garden by consuming pests. Ducks and chickens will both help reduce beetle populations on your property, and their waste can even naturally fertilize your plants. Just remember, keeping birds or any other animals requires additional work through care and feeding.
If handpicking sounds too time-consuming, try setting up row covers. These garden accessories offer great protection against many outdoor pests, including aphids, tomato hornworms, cabbage moths, and squash bugs. Row covers can even be used to prevent deer, rabbits, birds, and other larger animals from getting to your crops. You can use boards, rocks, or landscaping staples to hold these clear, thick, film-like covers in place, and they even protect against wind and sun, shielding delicate plants from harsh conditions.
Nematodes, or roundworms, can be added to your soil to prevent insect infestation. These microscopic, parasitic organisms are sold by the millions and shipped in a dormant state. You’ll simply need to mix them with water and apply them to your soil when you’re ready to activate them.
Nematodes take out pests by releasing bacteria that are designed to eliminate the host insect within a few days. This is especially helpful if you're dealing with soil-dwelling pests, including root maggots, grubs, and beetle larvae. Despite the dangers they pose for pests, nematodes won’t harm you or your plants.
Soaps and Sprays
When the methods above don’t deliver results, insecticidal soaps help manage sudden outbreaks of insects. These soaps contain fatty acids that dehydrate pests to rapidly eliminate them. You can make soap at home with dish liquid, cooking oil, and water. Too-strong mixtures can cause leaf burn, however, so you’ll need to mix carefully or consult a professional for pre-made products. With consistent treatments, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in pest populations.
Neem oil is another natural option that is worth asking about. This oil can be sprayed on plants to make adult insects lose interest in laying eggs, resulting in decreased populations. Using natural steroids, neem oil can be re-applied after a week or so to prevent your garden from becoming a breeding ground.
Get Professional Garden Pest Control
If you’re not seeing results with the methods above, Horizon Pest Control can help. Our expert pest elimination technicians will assess your situation, recommend the best, safest treatments available, and remove pests so you can enjoy gardening all summer long. To learn more about our Yard Guard service and other residential treatment options, request a free quote today.