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 • • • • • • • 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% recycled content. Printed with soy-based ink.
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