Garden Pests and Diseases – Principles of Garden Pest Control
Principles of Garden Pest Control
In general, it must be remembered that well-grown and well-tended plants, raised inwhich has had adequate dressings of , are much less liable to attacks from garden , than those plants which have been badly grown, starved or stunted, or have received a check in growth, especially in the early stages.
Whilst it is not true to say that compost-grown plants are immune toand diseases, many organic gardeners have found that they get very much less trouble from these sources than where plants are grown with the use of chemical fertilisers only. Bear in mind that there are several features that can contribute to unhealthy plants, e.g. poor cultivation, bad drainage, lack of rotation or overcrowding. It is a combination of several inter-related factors, which include the maximum use of compost, that contribute to sturdy, well-grown, resistant plants.
It is well-known that plants grown in a fertile soil, with a high humus content, are far less likely to be affected by deficiencies which predispose weaker plants to attack by both garden pests and diseases. Remember that there are many pests which spend the winter, if allowed to, in hedge bottoms, piles of old pea sticks, heaps of rubbish and plant debris. The moral here is an obvious one:
- compost all suitable material,
- burn any rubbish that can’t be dealt with by ,
- and remove any other items that can provide cover for these pests.
Eliminate, for example, heaps of stones or other material which, in any case can be put to good use in the bottom of a new path. Keep hedge bases and banks clear ofand grass, and do not allow weeds or rubbish to accumulate in any part of the garden. A most important aspect of organic gardening is the value of beneficial effects of certain insects. Ladybird larvae, and also the larvae of the Brown Lacewing, for example, they eat large numbers of aphides and this should always be kept in mind. Beneficial insects are encouraged by avoiding the use of poisonous sprays which, as has been stressed before, can kill all insect life, both harmful and beneficial. If this safe principle of garden is followed, you don’t have to worry about being able to recognise the many other beneficial insects that occur in Nature.
There is probably, almost certainly, still much to be learned regarding the control of aphids and other pests, from plants themselves. There are indications that certain plants act as either deterrents or controls against some pests, e.g. nasturtiums against Woolly Aphis on Apples, and certain species of marigold against some types of eel-worm. It is very probable that much new information will come forward in the future, on this aspect of garden pest control and prevention.
Another important practical point is to watch for the first signs of attack and to take control measures, where necessary, as soon as possible. Never allow pests, such as aphides, to build up into large numbers before taking some steps to eliminate them. All that is needed is a daily (or as often as can be managed) look at the plants, with the pest or disease factor in mind.
Many pests can be controlled by hand-picking and, on a garden scale, full use should be made of this method, particularly against the larger pests such as caterpillars on flower crops, or cutworms at the roots of plants. Leaves can also be protected from leaf miner if handpicking of this pest is done at an early stage.
When direct garden pest control measures have to be taken, it is important to use the non-poisonous preparations, and to avoid at all costs using dangerous poisons if one is going to work hand in hand with Nature. Some sprays kill all insects, whether harmful or not, and the great benefit derived from the many beneficial insects is then lost.