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10 Ways to Outsmart Common Garden Pests (Part One)

When you find yourself dealing with a prolific pest problem, you can’t help but feel singled out and victimised. After all – why did they choose your gorgeous garden to attack and gradually lay waste to?

If insects and pests in general got the better of you and your garden this year, you certainly aren’t the only one. Not that it helps, but pests usually prove problematic for all gardeners and landscapers across the board. Even the kinds of landscapers who know every trick in the book aren’t necessarily immune to pest infestation.

Which begs the obvious question – what can be done to improve things next time around? It’s not as if you can go back in time and undo the damage done this year, but what about next year?

As far as the country’s leading gardeners and landscapers are concerned, the key to successfully outsmarting common garden pests lies in simple proactivity.  There are various ways and means by which you can significantly reduce the likelihood of succumbing to pest infestation – most of which aren’t nearly as difficult or expensive as you might think.

So if you’d prefer to avoid pest problems altogether next year, here’s a brief overview of 10 simple yet effective ways of outsmarting common garden pests:

1.  Mixed Signals

First and foremost, it’s worth bearing in mind that most insect pests rely on sight and scent to locate their chosen plants. Which means that if you have one sizeable block or row of one certain type of plant in your garden, it is far more likely to be attractive to insect pests. By contrast, professional landscapers often deliberately mix plants from different families together. The result of which can be a mixture of fragrances and visual elements that are more likely to confuse and deter insects. It doesn’t have to be difficult – you could simply try adding a few ornamentals in with your edibles, or a handful of spicy pepper plants in with your flowerbeds. Send some mixed signals and your plants are significantly less likely to be targeted.

2. Air Raids

One of the best ways of keeping your garden free from pest infestation is to do your best to attract the kinds of beneficial bugs that prey on the insects you’re trying to get rid of. Wasps that can’t get enough of the caterpillars they feed on, ladybirds gobbling up aphids and so on. Depending on what kinds of plants you have and the pests you are looking to target, there are endless ways and means by which you can use strategically attract an airborne cavalry to help out.  Another tried and tested favourite among professional landscapers.

3. Larger Pests

If you find yourself dealing with larger pests – square roles, moles, rabbits etc. – be sure to try out those handy electronic vibrating repellents. Along with being 100% humane, they can also be surprisingly effective in keeping rodents and small animals away from your garden. The key thing to remember with these kinds of devices is that it often takes time for them to have the desired effect.  So rather than expecting overnight results and setting yourself up for disappointment, give things 2 to 4 weeks and see how they are progressing.

4. Grow Decoys

Another common strategy used by professional gardeners and landscapers is that of setting up decoys around the garden. That being, deliberately planting the kind of specimen that is no less than irresistible to the bugs you’d rather keep off your other plants. One of the most common and effective examples being redroot pigweed, which is known to be surprisingly good at keeping blister beetles away from tomato plants.

5. Grow More Decoys

Likewise, rocket grows with little to no input, spreads like wildfire and can be great at keeping flea beetles away from your other plants. For reasons known only to these little blighters, they seem to love the spicy pepper flavour of rocket and will typically swarm to it while ignoring just about everything else.

Stay tuned for the second half of our two-part pest-prevention post, coming soon!


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