March in Pennsylvania brings the first signs of spring, and it’s got our garden-planning gears turning! If you have a history of dealing with pesky pests like insects, rodents, or hungry deer, you might be wondering how to make the 2022 gardening season a little easier.
Setting up your garden for a pest-free season is not as difficult as it may sound! With the right products, practices, and diagnostics in your arsenal, you can keep pests at bay and enjoy your garden to its fullest. Check out these simple solutions to pest control in your garden for the season ahead.
How to Deal with Hungry Herbivores
Most gardeners have experience dealing with hungry herbivores like deer and rabbits. Deer will eat almost anything, and it can be devastating to see all of the hard work you put into creating a gorgeous garden destroyed overnight.
There are a few ways to control the amount of damage your garden incurs and encourage unwanted critters to continue to greener pastures. One is putting plants in your garden that they don’t want to eat! If your garden has a lot of animal-resistant plants, wildlife will see it as a less-than-desirable place to stop for lunch, even if there are a few items in there that they enjoy. Perennials such as lavender, Russian sage, yarrow, coneflowers, and creeping phlox are deer and rabbit resistant. Annuals like impatiens, bellflowers, dahlias, and marigolds also fall into this category.
Second, there are some great, safe products out there that you can use in your garden. Plantskydd, for example, is a product that was first developed in Sweden to protect tree plantations from grazing wildlife (while still adhering to some pretty strict environmental laws!) It stimulates a fear-based response in animals like deer, rabbits, and squirrels and ensures they continue right on past your precious plants. It can be used on flowers, shrubs, trees, and food crops—it’s even safe for pollinators!
Preventative Insect Control
While critters are irritating to deal with, at least they’re cute and can be exciting to spot in your yard! Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for most insects that we encounter. To manage the bugs that try to find a home in your garden, we recommend an eco-friendly system. Integrated Pest Management is a system of practices that you can undertake to help prevent pest problems. It involves using physical controls like manually removing pests, spraying your plants off with water every week, and pruning away infested parts of plants.
Building healthy, organic soil is another wonderful natural way to keep pest populations in check. You can utilize natural composting methods, biodegradable mulch, and natural fertilizer to build up your soil, which will ensure you have strong, healthy plants that are less susceptible to pests and disease. Disinfecting your tools and other gear like gardening gloves and spades regularly will also help prevent the spread of any disease from one area of your garden to another. A quick bath in a 1:9 bleach and water solution will do the trick!
Whenever possible, we opt for organic alternatives in pest management and control. St. Gabriel Organics, for example, has a wonderful product called Milky Spore Powder which can be applied after the frost is over and done with for the year. It only needs to be applied once to be a highly effective solution for the Japanese Beetle.
Prevention is the best medicine for keeping pest problems to a minimum in your garden. Stop by Lehigh Valley to learn more about the best pest control solutions!