Summer is a great time to spend more hours each week in your backyard, whether relaxing, gardening, playing, exercising, or entertaining. The weather during this time of the year is perfect for any outdoor activity and will certainly encourage you to bond with your friends and family more. You can even have some barbecue parties and dine al fresco during summer nights.
However, to ensure you can do this comfortably and safely while keeping your valued plants healthy, you must take steps to keep garden pests at bay. After all, you don’t want to bite, chewing, digging pests to attack your family or eat your plants.
Pests can be a nuisance as they can damage your garden and eat all of your plants. Some pests can even take a toll on your family’s health because of their bites and stings. Some pests are also known to carry and spread diseases, like salmonella, through their feces and urine.
Thankfully, there are numerous things you can do to deter the creepy crawlies. As the weather starts to heat up and insects move about more, here are some steps to take.
Keep Your Lawn and Gardens Trimmed
Since pests tend to hide in cool, damp places during the day, reduce their numbers in your yard by limiting the number of hidey-hole they have. This means it’s necessary to keep your lawn and gardens trimmed. Don’t leave pests such as beetles, parasites, and lawn-loving chinch bugs with lots of long grass, weeds, fallen leaves, and overgrown plants to make their home in.
Aside from being a perfect habitat, debris can also become food for pests. When your garden provides home and food for pests, they’ll be attracted to stay there and multiply.
Another reason to keep your gardens free from too much debris and your lawn kept under control are that doing so makes it possible for more air, water, and sunlight to get down into the soil below. When this happens, grass and plants will be healthier and more resistant to attack. The cleaner your garden is, the easier it’ll be for your plants to get and absorb nutrients from the sun, water, and air. An integrated pest management can be the best solution for this.
Place Barriers around Your Plants
Another tip is to place barriers around your plants so pests can’t get to them so easily. This is particularly helpful for young seedlings that are usually pest magnets and therefore vulnerable to attack from common garden pests.
Keep plants safer by placing barriers around them such as crushed eggshells, wood ash, shell grit, and even coffee grounds from your kitchen. You can also try making some cutworm collars, row covers, and fruit bags to protect your plants from pests. Deer or bird netting, as well as cabbage root maggot collars, are also great options.
Most garden pests have soft bellies that can be damaged by anything sharp and pointy. As such, creatures usually avoid dragging themselves over these items.
Plant Greenery to Repel Pests
Keep in mind, too, that there are numerous bug-repelling plants you can buy for your yard to help keep pests away. In particular, many insects don’t like the essential oils found in various plants. They steer clear of them as a result.
Some of the best plants you can put in your garden to act as pest deterrents are herbs. For example, use dill to keep slugs, aphids, and snails away; lavender to repel flies, moths, fleas, and mosquitoes; and parsley to deter asparagus beetles.
Also try out rosemary to get rid of mosquitoes and insects that like to eat veggies, basil to turn off flies and mosquitoes, and thyme to keep away corn earworms, cabbage maggots, whiteflies, and tomato hornworms. A wide variety of ornamental flowers will also do the job of keeping pests at bay. For this reason, plant marigolds, petunias, nasturtiums, and fertilizer for chrysanthemums.
When choosing which greeneries to plant to repel pests, don’t forget to consider the maintenance requirement of the plant. Adding another plant in your garden and not watering it regularly will only cause it to die and attract pests to eat it. Instead of solving your pest problem, you’ll end up making it worse.
Don’t Let Water Pool Up
After heavy rain, it’s normal to have pools of water lying around your yard in pots, buckets, watering cans, clam-shell pools, and other types of containers. The problem with this when it comes to pests, though, is that this water attracts them to your yard. Avoid this problem by emptying out water often.
After strong rains, roam around your garden and check if puddles of water have formed. If you see any, scoop the water out from the puddle to allow the soil to dry. This should be done regularly because leaving puddles of water will eventually cause too much moisture on the soil and weaken the root of your plants.
Note, too, that watering lawns and gardens is best done in the morning. When you get this job out of the way first thing, the moisture will have time to dry out during the day and your plants will be able to absorb the nutrients from the water without damaging the roots. In turn, critters won’t be so likely to be out and about taking advantage of water when they’re more active at night.
Encourage More Helpful Bug-Eating Creatures into Your Yard
When thinking about ways to keep garden pests at bay, don’t label all creatures with the same negative reputation. There are many different insects and other animals you want to encourage into your yard because they eat the pests that cause problems.
For instance, it’s good to have critters such as soldier beetles, damsel bugs, spiders, lacewings, parasitic wasps, ladybirds, praying mantises, and hoverflies in your yard. They eat up pests, particularly insects such as damage-causing aphids. You’ll get more of these helpful creatures in your yard if you plant the things they like. This list includes yarrow, mint, Echinacea, sunflowers, dill, fennel, carrots, dandelion, nasturtiums, and daisies.
Garden pests are a definite nuisance and get even worse as the weather heats up. However, by taking the simple yet effective steps listed above, you should reduce your incidences of these pests in your yard and be able to enjoy your outdoor areas more freely over the warmer months.