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Pest Control Without Chemicals – A Realistic Approach?

Here’s a question – is it really possible to stay on top of pest control, without resorting to chemicals?

Over recent years, the dangers associated with chemical pesticides and toxic plant treatments in general have become abundantly apparent. An extensive range of severe health problems have been directly linked with pesticide use, motivating more gardeners than ever before to consider alternative options.

But at the same time, there will always be those who argue that the organic approach to pest control simply isn’t realistic.

In reality, evidence suggests otherwise. Organic pest control has the potential to be surprisingly effective – particularly when approached from a preventative perspective. Rather than allowing pests to become a problem in the first place, there are various ways and means by which infestation can be prevented – without having to resort to chemical pesticides.

Maintain Soil Health

For example, the single most important element in organic pest control is the proper maintenance of soil health. Unhealthy plants and poor soil quality represent proven pest catalysts, which are largely guaranteed to invite pest problems. By contrast, soil that is well maintained with plenty of organic fertilizer, mulch and compost is naturally more resistant to pest infestation. And of course, happy soil also makes for happy and healthy plants.

Companion Planting

This is a strategic approach to gardening, which involves planting specific species in close proximity to one another, in order to divert or repel the attention of common pests. For example, basil is often used to protect tomatoes, while roses can be kept free and clear of aphids by planting garlic nearby. There’s a whole world of companion planting options to explore, which if implemented correctly can be surprisingly effective.

Silver Reflective Mulch

A strategy that hasn’t been around for very long, but is starting to gain serious traction. It’s essentially a case of replacing conventional mulch with a lightweight shiny silver sheet, which is positioned around plants on top of the soil. Not only does the reflective nature of the material naturally deter many insects and birds, but it also eliminates the shady areas under the leaves that serve as the ideal habitat for a variety of pests. It may have a rather radical appearance, but it can certainly get the job done.

Neem Oil

One of the most popular organic insecticides used all over the world is neem oil.  Used appropriately in the ideal concentration, neem oil can effectively repel termites, snails, houseflies, cockroaches, caterpillars, aphids, ants and many more common pests besides. It can also help keep mildew and fungus under control.

Garlic Oil Spray

Last up, it’s largely the same story with garlic oil as well, which can be used to create a simple DIY organic pest deterrent. It’s simply a case of allowing crushed garlic to steep in vegetable oil for a few weeks, before diluting it at a ratio of four parts water to one part oil. This can then be sprayed directly onto the stems and leaves of most plants, as a means by which to keep common pests and bugs at bay.

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