Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Natural Pest Prevention in the Landscape

The Landscape Experts at Crabapple know the first step in Natural Garden Pest prevention is to identify the type of pest in order to stop it in its tracks. 

  • Plant-eating Insects
    • chewing insects 
    • sucking insects
    • below-ground grubs
  • Mites 
  • Plant Diseases 
    • fungus 
    • bacteria 
    • virus

The best defense is a good offense, and the LandscapExpert Team begins by using many cultural controls. 
  • Start with the soil. Build healthy, organic soils that optimize plant growth by raising the organic matter content in Georgia red clay
    •  compost 
    •  mulch
    • mushroom compost
    • topdressing with well-rotted manure
    • aerated compost tea
    • seaweed 
    • organic mulch
  • Create optimum soil acidity/alkalinity levels
    • Correct pH
    • Pulverized dolomitic lime to make acid soils more neutral
  • Mycorrhizal inoculents: 
    • friendly fungi to create a symbiotic relationship with roots of higher plants
    • beneficial bacteria to produce nitrogen in available compounds 
  • Choose the correct plant for the location; for example, do not plant boxwood in a soggy location, nor crape myrtle in the shade 
  • Rotate crops, interplanting, companion planting (avoid monocultures) 
  • Pull weak plants since these will be more susceptible to pest attack
  • Minimize insect habitat by raking off old mulch and plant litter and composting
  • Water in early morning so sun will dry off leaves; water roots, not leaves 
  • Disinfect pruning tools between plants to avoid spreading disease 
  • Open planting to provide improved air circulation

Integrated Pest Management
  • Identify pest 
  • Cultural controls first and foremost
  • Add or attract beneficial insects to eat or parasitize harmful insects or larvae
    • beneficials include carnivorous insects that eat other bugs
    • well known lacewings, praying mantids, ladybugs
  • Organic remedies include 
    • hand- picking, 
    • dormant oil spray 
    • traps 
    • lures
  • Chemical remedies include 
    • Targeted spot treatment with chemical insecticides or fungicides appropriate for the specific pest
    • We avoid broadcast pesticide spraying that will adversely affect beneficial insects and soil organisms  

Members of the Crabapple Team are certified Pesticide Applicators with up-to-date licenses who attend re-certification classes. Count on Crabapple for the best in knowledgeable Pest Prevention. 

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