There is nothing more frustrating for a gardener than purchasing, growing and nurturing a plant for it to be destroyed by pests or disease. As gardeners we strive to protect our crops and this can be an enormous challenge especially when we have to try identify what has caused the damage. Even more frustrating, those shifty beasties are often hidden and not noticeable without a thorough search.
I have collated my top 5 tips to help you reduce the chance of infestation, and due to the overwhelming questions asked by our Facebook and Twitter followers, I will discuss the most common concerns which will hopefully solve your gardening concerns too.
Sometimes there is no right or single answer to getting rid of pest and diseases so these tips are intended to help reduce the risk of attack of any pest and disease in your garden;
- By covering your crops with fleece you will prevent pests from reaching your crops.
- Keep your eyes peeled for the earliest signs of attack and take action. Have a good look at your plants and if there is an infestation don’t let the problem get out of hand.
- Know your enemy. Certain pests and diseases are specific to a particular crop, so make sure you identify yourself with the most likely kind to attack your crops.
- By encouraging natural predators to your garden such as Ladybirds and Lacewings you will reduce pest and disease in your garden. They will happily munch their way through aphid colonies, preventing the spread around your garden.
- Be careful not to spread disease, many diseases can be prevented by practising good garden hygiene and keeping your garden well maintained.
Our facebookers and tweeters took to social media to ask their pesky queries; from slugs to mildew we had it all. It soon became clear that our gardeners need help with preventing and eliminating pests and diseases to save their garden.
Slugs and snails are probably the most common pests that will attack your crops, and by the time you notice their damage they are often long gone. No wonder gardeners resort to throwing them over fences – which is another discussion we had on Horticultural etiquette! So, how do you prevent snails and slugs from attacking your crop? You can use beer traps, or apply sharp scratchy mulch such as gravel to deter them. For a more targeted approach try using Nemaslug, which is completely safe around children, all animals, birds and wildlife – except for slugs and snails.
Ants can also be a nuisance although they don’t directly damage your plants. They often set up farms of sap sucking aphids, from which they gather sugary honeydew. You can try applications of ant deterrent around their nests and watch to see where they move to. If you keep applying it wherever they move, then sooner or later they will find somewhere to live which will be less of an inconvenience to you. It is also well worth encouraging insectivorous birds to your garden who will help to keep the ant population down.
Diseases such as Powdery Mildew and Downy Mildew affect a wide range of plants. Many plants are now bred with Mildew resistance to help combat the disease. Good air circulation and watering
For more information view our full pests and diseases guide.