Is Pest-Free and Healthy
Yard work time is one of Tanner's favorite activities. He darts all over the yard, chasing everything that moves. Today, when we came outside early, he even corralled a Raccoon and treed the poor fella. Good thing they're good climbers.
After a Long Morning on Pest Patrol
© photo copyright Carrie Boyko
Looks Healthy and Grows Fast
Here in Florida, Spring is in full bloom, and the fleas have apparently hit their mating cycle with renewed vigor. After a particularly cold Winter, I had hoped this would slow the pesky bugs, but I hear from friends and neighbors that they are really multiplying quickly.
Here are a few other long-term maintenance tips to make pest control less damaging and more environmentally friendly in your yard:
- Pick the pests off by hand. Create barriers and traps and plug holes. Seek out snails that hide in damp places under rocks and at the base of plants with straplike foliage.
- Lure predatory insects such as green lacewings and dragonflies to feed on your aphids and other pests that attack your plants. One way to do this is by leaving a bowl of water in the garden. This will attract the dragonflies, and they will go after some of the other insects, when they come to visit your handy water bowl, provided just for them.
- Another method of manual pest control is a tad bit less hands on than number 1 above. This is using a spray nozzle to dislodge the insects from the plants. The drawback is that it won't prevent them from coming back, unless the water pressure kills them. If that's the case, you may cause damage to the plant as well. Use this method with care.
- Using a sprayer with a vegetable soap solution or natural oil solution works well for me. I've had good luck with a product called Nature's RX, made right here in my community in Central Florida. You gotta love local companies who are bringing jobs to our local economy. This liquid is made of cedar oil and soybean oil. It is labeled for many insects, including scale (a big problem in Central Florida), aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, white-flies, thrips, flea larvae, and chinch bugs--another problem for our most popular Florida turf, St. Augustine grass. Additionally, it has anti-fungal properties to help prevent fungus during our rainy season. Nature's RX does not list a website on their product, so I'll pass along their phone number here: (407) 953-7307. I get it at my local natural foods store, which happens to be a smaller store--not a chain. Check your Whole Foods; I may have seen it there also.
- Green Aphids and Mites can be fought off with 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and a cup of vegetable oil. Use a biodegradable, all-natural soap like Dr. Bronner's. Dilute a teaspoon of this solution in a cup of water and spray it on.
This should get you and your healthy garden started. If you have other pest problems, I'd love to hear about them. I'll check out potential solutions. On the flip side, I would love to hear your own success stories via comment below, following the post, or email me at CarrieLeaJohnson@gmail.com.Finally, the Safer Pest Control Project, SPCP, and over two hundred other organizations across the country have coordinated a large scale effort to promote the use of natural lawncare. You can join the National Coalition for Pesticide Free Lawns, and make a statement for a toxin-free Earth. Check out the new website to sign a declaration at Pesticide Free Lawns and find great information on alternatives to pesticides for the garden. The Pesticide Free Zone sign is a national symbol for this effort.
Sources: Biodelice, Safer Pest Control Project