How to Protect my Plants from Insects

Unfortunately as the weather gets warmer, our gardens and plants begin to receive unwanted attention from insects. If they appear occasionally, they typically do not cause many problems. It is when the numbers of insects grow that they begin to wreak havoc on your plants.

With more and more information surfacing about the potential dangers of synthetic chemical pesticides, gardeners and plant owners are looking for safer insect control methods for their lawns and gardens. Preventing insects from appearing in the first place is one of the best methods of pest control. But how do you do that? Let’s take a look at some way

Pests on Plants

Choose Resistant Varieties

Do your research when choosing vegetables and other plants for your garden. Look for varieties that are resistant to pests. For example, choose carrot-fly-resistant carrots or potatoes that resist attacks from eelworms. If squash bugs are a common problem, try Butternut or Royal Acorn Squash, as they are two of the most resistant varieties.

Employ Intercropping

Interplant your crops to confuse any pesky insects and prevent them from coming in on their preferred crop. Mix up different kinds of vegetables or grow herbs and flowers in between. To confuse pest insects, even more, try planting vegetables with colored leaves, such as purple cabbage or kale.

Utilize Physical Barriers

Physical barriers, like insect mesh or floating row covers, will help prevent insects from ruining the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor. A floating row cover is a lightweight spun-bound fabric that rests on the plants or can be supported by wire hoops. Be sure to secure the covers around the edges, so that the insects can’t infiltrate at the soil level. And don’t forget to remove the row covers when the plants begin to flower.

Attract Beneficial Insects

Not all insects and bugs are bad for your plants. Ladybugs, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, parasitic wasps, damsel bugs and hoverflies are just a few of the beneficial bugs that can control the unwanted insects. These beneficial bugs keep the numbers down by either eating the pests or hatching their young inside of them. But first, you need to attract the good variety of insects to your garden. Plant flowers that they love, such as cosmos, sweet alyssum, dill, and yarrow. For the most impact, plant them in between your crops.

Maintain Healthy Plants

Healthy plants attract fewer pests. Believe it or not, stress-free plants have their own chemical defense system that wards off insects. Therefore, do your best to keep your plants healthy and strong by planting in the right conditions, keeping them well hydrated in dry weather, and feeding your soil with organic matter.

Lawn Care Experts in Pittsburgh

For expert advice on keeping insects at bay in your garden, contact Pittsburgh’s A&N Garden and Greenhouse at 412-931-9230 ext 2. Located on Reis Run Road in Franklin Park, our garden center staff and knowledgeable lawn care specialists in Pittsburgh are ready to help you control pesky insects this summer.

Sarah Rizzitano
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