For many homeowners, their garden is their pride and joy. It takes a considerable amount of hard work, determination and patience to create a vibrant garden packed with life, so its a great shame when your garden gets engulfed by pests and diseases.
5 Tips For Avoiding Pests and Diseases
Although in some cases, particular common garden pests and diseases are unavoidable to keep at bay, there are many precautions you can take to keep this issue at a minimum. Not only do pests and diseases make your garden look unappealing and unhealthy, but the fatal combination also becomes incredibly tricky to resolve and will spread through your garden if left unnoticed.
So, if gardening has become a newly found hobby, or you are currently struggling with keeping pests and diseases away, take a look at our top tips.
Encourage Beneficial Insects
Although it may be hard to believe, there is such thing as good pests. Not all insects are harmful to your garden, many, in fact, are incredibly beneficial and will help your plants to flourish all year round.
Several different insects such as ladybirds, green lacewings and damsel bugs will only take a trip to your garden to either collect pollen or to shelter their eggs and care for the young. During their stay, they will also prey on those annoying pests and remove them for you by eating them or feeding them to their young. These are the type of insects you want to invite to your garden and encourage their life as much as possible to keep plants healthy, not to mention how mesmerising their appearance is. For more insects to encourage in your garden, take a look at this handy Organic Lesson page!
Beneficial insects are attracted by plants that are filled with nectar that is rich in carbohydrates, are low growing and have a lot of shade to protect their eggs. This means they can feed well and live comfortably without being disturbed.
Regular Clean Ups
Once a disease manifests in a garden, you would be surprised how quickly it can spread to all other surrounding plants and flowers. One of the biggest ways to avoid a spread in disease is to take time out each month to carry out a thorough clean up.
Aim to get rid of all dead or unhealthy looking branches, stems, leaves and fallen petals. In most cases, the cause of death may have simply been old age; however, you can never be too wary of the idea of diseases as a cause. Most definitely remove all traces of the plant if fallen leaves or flowers are filled with fungi, dark spots or mildew, this will dramatically decrease the likelihood of spreading.
Many homeowners opt for recycling all old garden waste and transforming it into compost for the following year, which although is fantastic and is promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle, can be dangerous is the waste is filled with disease. Only reuse unhealthy garden waste if you have a hot compost pile, the heat will kill off the disease and spot it spreading over new plants in the following year. HotBin Composting has a wide range of bins able to create organic compost free of disease and pests.
Inspect Before Planting
Just because a plant has been purchased from a reputable garden centre, this does not mean that it is entirely healthy. Staff are unlikely to place a notice on plants saying that it is unhealthy, they will instead discount the price. So if you see a plant that has had the price reduced, this unlikely to mean a bargain, but instead a potential harbour for diseases.
Before purchasing and especially when you get the plant home, tip it out of the pot and thoroughly inspect the roots and foliage. If there are any signs of fungal disease such as yellow or wilting foliage, a powdery mildew or dark spots, do not plant it in your garden. Not only will the disease spread throughout your garden, but it will attract destructive insects such as maggots, cutworms and beetles. For a full guide to plant diseases, take a look at Planet Natural.
Fit Barriers Over Plants
Of course, it would be unhealthy to keep barriers over all of your plants at all times, plus would mask the beautiful colours, but can be beneficial particularly in a vegetable garden.
Protection bags or a floating cover is usually used to protect plants over the Winter to help them to withstand the colder weather conditions. However, can greatly reduce the number of pests in plants first few weeks of life or if you are having a particular issue with pests and no other alternative is successful.
Covers and bags create a physical barrier between pests such as caterpillars and beetles, stopping them from getting near enough to eat away with the fresh leaves, flowers or vegetables. This is the main reason as to why you often see large white covers filling allotments.
Some plants are considerably more likely to attract pests than others, so it is always highly recommended to carry out brief research before purchasing into what plants are naturally pest resistant. A handy top tip is to plant herbs nearby to your favourite plants as the fragrance will deter pests.
As for disease, where you choose to plant your flowers, shrubs, trees or vegetables in your garden will have an impact on whether a disease will spread. Always opt for somewhere with good air circulation and is not cramped with many different plants side by side. A stagnant area will allow a disease to thrive.
Also, aim to water plants in the morning rather than in the evening. Watering in the evening and then allowing the soil to remain damp overnight, in the dark with no sun to help dry it off, again, allows the diseases to have their chance to grow.
Keep Your Garden and Pest or Disease Free!
Keeping your garden healthy, flourishing and filled with life doesn’t have to be entirely down to your responsibility. Schedules get busier, and all of a sudden, gardening becomes the last thing you want to spend your only free moment doing. We have many professional, experienced gardeners who can carry out landscape maintenance Milton Keynes, ensuring that pests and diseases are banished before they get a chance to impact your garden!