Protecting Plants from Insects

These tiny reddish, green, grey or brown insects tend to cluster around the tips of plant leaves or stems, where they suck the juices. These bugs are true pests and can wreak havoc on your garden if left unchecked.

Insects can quickly destroy even the best-tended home gardens. But homeowners can take some steps to protect their perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees from even the most voracious of buggy invaders.

Here are some tips on combating the most common garden pests:

Aphids

These tiny reddish, green, grey or brown insects tend to cluster around the tips of plant leaves or stems, where they suck the juices.

These bugs are true pests and can wreak havoc on your garden if left unchecked. You can fight them by spraying them off with water, applying an insecticidal soap to leaves, or by adding ladybugs to your garden. Ladybugs are friendly to plants and love to dine on aphids.

Grubs

These beetle larvae can decimate a garden, leaving dead turf and plants in their wake.

Gardeners recommend that you combat grubs in the spring or fall by applying compounds that use carbaryl or trichlorfon. These compounds will kill grubs already in the ground. Gardeners can use preventative compounds containing halfenozide or imidacloprid in the first few weeks of July to keep grubs from attacking their garden in the first place.

Spider mites

These tiny bugs leave barely visible webs among your plants. But just because spider mites are hard to see doesn’t mean they can’t be destructive in your garden.

Because spider mites prefer dry conditions, the best way to get rid of them is to spray your plants with water as often as possible.

Beetles

There are a lot of beetles out there, and most of them are extremely harmful to your garden. These invaders chew leaves and foliage and seem to have insatiable appetites.

It’s not pleasant, but the best way to deal with beetles is to kill them by hand. You can also check the underside of leaves for beetle egg cases and destroy them before they hatch. A chemical alternative is to spray your leaves with rotenone, an odorless chemical compound.

Slugs or snails

These slow-moving critters may not seem harmful, but they often eat holes in the leaves of plants.

Gardeners can kill these bugs by hand or purchase one of the many traps on the market designed specifically for slugs or snails.

Root weevils

These tiny bugs target ornamental and berry plants, often biting holes in their roots and leaves.

The best method for combating them is to handpick them off plants and destroy them. You can also buy traps, which usually consist of sticky gauze that gardeners wrap around the bases of trees and ornamental plants. Gardeners are also advised to not pile mulch over plants’ root crowns. Such a move makes it easier for these critters to hide.
 

author: Dan Rafter

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