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Organic Pest Control: Hands-On or Hands-Off?

Jun 24, 2008
Organic pest control and the effective control of garden pests depends very much on gardener attitude towards approach. The most basic approach has to do with monitoring. It's very important for a gardener to constantly monitor his/her garden through a series of logs and journals, which keep the gardener constantly up to speed on any pest attacks and plant health. Here are some examples of items one should keep in mind for effective pest control:

Sudden insect attacks, specifically from aphids, can occur seemingly overnight. While aphids can chew down leaves and stems, injuring plants, the plants can be smothered by the secretions left by the insects. What's worse, certain types of fungi can grow on the insect secretions, which can suck essential vitamins and nutrients from the plant itself. There are organic ways to handle such garden pests, so further reading and study is needed beyond what's included in this article. However, be prepared for this before any planting is done, as sudden attacks can destroy plants without swift action.

Lawns are especially susceptible to attacks, especially from caterpillars and other root-feeding insects. Why? Lawns, particularly new lawns, have very shallow root structures and can fall prey to predatory insects. Much like the example given above, swift action is needed if this occurs. Without an effective organic pest control plan, these insects can destroy a lawn within days.

Powdery mildew, if left unchecked, can have adverse effects on plants as well. Much like the fungi mentioned above, this mildew can suffocate plants. Ensure that plants susceptible to this are rinsed down with a gentle stream of water to wash off any mildew that might be present.

One of the basic tenants of organic pest control is to "let it be." While it may be tempting to jump in and be "hands-on" with your plants to keep them pest-free, oftentimes it's best to allow the environment to do its own work. While fungi and other pests may be present in your garden at any given time, avoiding the use of chemicals will allow your pests' predators to keep them in check. Spiders, ladybugs, and other forms of predators should be allowed to remain in your garden to fight off the plant-eating pests that you're trying to keep away.

While this isn't a comprehensive review of organic pest control techniques, this should be a good primer in some of the methods one should consider if contemplating organic pest control instead of some of the more established methods.
About the Author
Joe provides an authoritative reference to organic pest control in his Organic Pest Control Guide . You can learn more about organic pest control ideas at his website.
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