Gardening is a rewarding and fulfilling hobby, but it can be disheartening to see your hard work threatened by common garden pests. Maintaining a beautiful and thriving garden requires consistent care and attention to monitor for signs of pests. Aphids, cutworms, spider mites, slugs and grasshoppers are common garden pests in the Calgary area. These garden invaders can wreak havoc on your precious plants but with the right strategies, you can successfully combat these common garden pests and protect your plants. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you combat common garden pests and keep your garden pest-free and thriving.
Common Garden Pests
Grasshoppers are medium to large insects more common during warm and dry summer months. They feed on various plant parts, including leaves, stems, and flowers. They can quickly cause significant damage by eating foliage and young shoots. Their feeding can weaken plants, stunt their growth and reduce crop yields.
Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects usually found in clusters on the stems, leaves, or buds of plants. They feed by sucking the sap on plants which can cause leaves to curl, yellow, or fall off. They also produce a sticky substance called honeydew, which can attract ants and lead to the growth of sooty mould on the plants.
Cutworms are a common garden pest that is particularly active at night and often curl into a C-shape when disturbed. They cut through the stems of young plants near the soil surface. They primarily target seedlings and can be especially destructive to vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.
- Slugs and snails
These slimy creatures can be voracious feeders, chewing holes in leaves, flowers, and fruits. They are particularly active during damp conditions. Slugs and snails feed on plant leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. They create irregular holes and chew on plant tissues, leaving behind a slimy trail as they move. Seedlings, young plants, and tender foliage are particularly susceptible to their feeding, which can lead to stunted growth, yellowing, and even plant death.
- Spider Mites
Spider mites are tiny pests that are difficult to see with the naked eye. To detect their presence, look for fine webbing on the undersides of leaves and inspect plants for signs of stippling (small yellow or white dots) or discoloration.
Spider mites feed on plant cells by piercing them and sucking out the contents. Their feeding results in stippled or mottled leaves, discoloration, and leaf drop. Severe infestations can weaken plants and stunt their growth.
How to Combat Common Garden Pests:
- Implement good cultural practices to create a healthy garden environment. This includes proper watering, appropriate plant spacing, regular weeding, and adequate nutrition for plants. Healthy plants are more resistant to pests and can better withstand infestations. Use soil products such as the KINGS Premium Garden Mix and the 7030 Garden Mix to keep your plants healthy.
- Encourage beneficial insects and animals like ladybugs, lacewings, birds, toads, and frogs that prey on garden pests.
- For larger pests like grasshoppers or slugs, physically remove them from the plants by hand. Check your plants regularly and remove any visible pests to prevent their further damage.
- Apply mulch around your plants to suppress weed growth, which can harbor pests. Proper weed control reduces pest hiding places and competition for nutrients. Soil Kings offers the best organic mulch products to protect your plants against weeds.
- Remove fallen leaves, debris, and plant residues from the garden. Pests often seek shelter in these areas during the day and can emerge to attack your plants at night.
- Keep a close eye on your garden, inspecting plants for signs of pest infestations. Early detection allows for prompt action and prevents the pests from causing significant damage.
Combating common garden pests requires a proactive and multifaceted approach. By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage and minimize pest infestations in your garden. Remember, maintaining a healthy garden starts with good products. Contact Soil Kings today for all your gardening needs.