Growing a Healthy Garden to Manage Pests Naturally

Growing a Healthy Garden to Manage Pests Naturally
L
growing a
healthy garden
to manage pests naturally
A
healthy garden filled
with a wide variety
of flowering plants
will be more resistant to significant pest damage. A healthy,
diverse garden will also attract
beneficial creatures, such as
dragonflies, ladybugs, lacewings, syrphid flies, and “miniwasps,” which feed on pests.
AttrActing And
Keeping BeneficiAl
insects
• Become familiar with what beneficial insects look like in their various
forms of development. Many people
kill ladybugs in their larval form
without realizing it. Other bugs suffer the same fate. Go to www.ipm.
ucdavis.edu/PMG/NE/index.html to
see what these garden predators look
like as "babies" and adults!
• Reduce or eliminate the use of
broad-spectrum pesticides in your
garden. Bees and other beneficial
insects are often far more sensitive
to pesticides than the pests you might
be trying to kill. Once pesticides
eliminate the beneficial insects, pests
are free to multiply without a natural
check. As pest populations rise, you
may be tempted to spray more frequently, but pesticides leave genetically resistant strains of pests to breed,
creating an increasingly resistant pest
population. The harder it becomes to
kill the pest, the more you’ll need to
spray and the fewer natural enemies
you’ll have to help you out.
• Provide food and water for the adult
formsofbeneficialinsects. Although
many beneficial insects perform their
pest control services only during an
immature stage, the adult stage feeds on
nectar and pollen. You can attract and
keep a wide variety of beneficial insects
in your garden by including flowering
plants that are rich in pollen and nectar.
The box on the back page lists a number
of these “insectary” plants. Some adult
beneficial insects also need water from
dew, irrigation, or other sources to
sustain them during dry periods.
choosing the
right plAnt
One of the most important preventive
steps in the pest management process
is selecting appropriate plants for a
particular location. Usually we choose
plants for their beauty, but to minimize
pest problems, consider other plant
characteristics and the site where it will
grow. It’s easier to plant a compatible
species for your site than to try to alter
the growing conditions.
• Understand the soil conditions in
your yard. Soil conditions must
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match the requirements of your
plants. For example, some plants are
well adapted to salty or compacted
soil or soil with poor drainage.
Know the sun and shade characteristics of your garden. Consider times
of day and different seasons.
Know that watering requirements
differ depending upon the soil and
plant type.
Select pest- and disease-resistant
plants.
Don’t plant invasive species (some are
available as garden plants), and remove those growing on your property
(see “Don’t Plant a Pest!” brochure
from Cal-IPC; www.cal-ipc.org).
Plant a diversity of species. Include
native plants and plants from other
Mediteranean climates. This ensures
that a single pest problem will not
devastate your entire landscape.
To attract and keep beneficial insects, include “insectary” plants in
your landscape (see box on back).
You can get help in choosing the
right plants from California Certified
Nursery Professionals, University of
California Cooperative Extension
Master Gardeners, Horticultural
Consultants, ISA Certified Arborists
(see the Yellow Pages index), California Invasive Plant Council, or local
gardening clubs. Also, see the books
recommended on the back
side of this fact sheet.
Choose less toxic products for your home and garden. Look for this symbol before you buy.
P
• Different plants require different
kinds of pruning (if they need it at
all). Learn how and when to prune
your plants, and do so judiciously.
Severe pruning can damage the plant
and encourage pests and diseases.
P
www.OurWaterOurWorld.org
November 2008
Paper content: 25% post-consumer waste, 50%
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