We all love to entertain guests in our yards, but what do you do when some of the guests are uninvited? We’re talking about the inevitable insects and pests which are the bane of gardeners everywhere.
Many of the plants we sell at Calgaryplants.com are bred specifically for their resistance to disease and pests, but here are some critters you may still find, and suggestions for controlling them without chemicals:
- - Ants – ants are fairly harmless, but if they’re bothering you, spread cornmeal around the nests, and the ants will take in more water than usual, causing them to expand and die.
- - Aphids – not only green, these little bugs can be yellow, brown, grey, black or even pink. Hose them off your plants with a strong jet of water, and they’ll drop to the ground where their predators will gobble them up. A little dishwasher soap and vegetable oil can be added to the water, but you should always pre-test this on your plants first.
- - Caterpillars – there are a variety of harmless caterpillars, but some to watch out for include:
- - Birch leaf miner – rather than the caterpillars themselves, you’re more likely to notice brown spots on your birch leaves. If you break the leaf open you will see that there are eggs or tiny caterpillars between the outer layers of the leaf.
- - Ash leaf cone roller – the larvae live in the rolled up leaves of ash trees.
- - Satin moths – look for black, brown and white caterpillars which can defoliate a poplar tree, and have even been known to eat willows and oak.
The best bet for caterpillars is to remain vigilant and pick them whenever you see them. Spraying with a strong jet of water can help remove them from the upper branches. There is, unfortunately, no way to reach larvae that are inside the leaves, but keeping the soil free of leaf litter may help to prevent them from settling into the soil. In the worst cases you will need to call in a tree care company.
If any of the plants in your yards are showing signs of disease or damage, take a small piece of the damaged plant material to your local garden centre and they can almost certainly help you identify the problem and find a solution.
We’re still in full planting season here at Calgaryplants.com. We have a huge selection of the best trees, shrubs and perennials for Calgary gardens – and our plant collections make it easy to find plants for any conditions and every spot in your yard.
With Calgaryplants.com, ordering online is simple and your plants will be delivered right to your door.