Pest control must always start with prophylactic measures and, in case they are not enough, we can gradually start to consider other solutions.
In the garden, pests appear as consumers and destroyers of vegetables, fruits and decorative plants; they can be phytopathogenic parasites, pathogens, insects, rodents etc. Many types of pests behave as parasites of diseased or vulnerable plants, meaning that they will first attack plants that are already weakened prior to their arrival. Causes of primary plant weakness may be stress factors such as poor local conditions or lack of nutrients. To learn how to get rid of pests, one must consider both prophylaxis and reactive “treatment”.
First of all, keeping pests away and your garden healthy is a matter of choosing plants suitable for the type of soil and climate in the area, as well as considering the requirements for each plant, in terms of metabolism and nutrient intake.
These are the most basic measures, but they must be completed with others, in order to keep the plants in your garden healthy:
- The selection of healthy and quality varieties of plants and seeds
- Determining the right seeding and harvesting seasons, as well as the correct application of crop maintenance operations
- Choosing the appropriate methods of cultivating the soil
- Applying correct and efficient soil maintenance operations, thus providing a healthy environment for the plants. These operations include, for example, good care of the humus layer, by using compost which increases the texture and the moisture level of the soil, ensuring the richness of its nutrients. The portion of the garden that remains uncultivated must be covered with a protective layer of vegetation, to avoid soil erosion. Suitable plant protection agents are cuttings resulted from mowing, such as grass or foliage
- Besides the compost and depending on the location and the plant requirements, additional nutrients may be required. It is important to find the correct balance to keep the soil healthy and fertile in your garden, because both the lack of nutrients and the excessive intake of fertilizers can lead to different degrees of damages of the plants, fruits and vegetables, which will favor pest attacks
- Adequate irrigation is required for the assimilation and transport of the nutrients
- Encouraging the presence of useful organisms in the garden, by creating natural or artificial places for sheltering, wintering and nesting. These stimulant factors must be made of natural materials: holes in the logs, piles of wood, piles of stones or nests, located in areas protected from wind and precipitation.
How to get rid of pests when prophylaxis isn’t enough
If prophylaxis is not enough and you experience pest infestation in your garden, it is time to consider other options.
- Chemical solutions (synthetic pesticides)
- Natural, organic pesticides – Even if they are natural, pesticides can still contain substances that may be harmful to humans, so use them with care, according to the indications provided by specialists. Also, keep in mind that it is not advisable to consume the vegetables on the same day you spray the plants; when you do eat them, make sure to wash them carefully.
- Insect traps
- Barbed wire fences, or electric fences, to keep away wild animals
- Traps for rodents and other small animals
- Electronic devices
Keep these aspects in mind and you will enjoy a clean, healthy garden.