Magazine article Sunset

Pest Control: More Tips from the Pros

Magazine article Sunset

Pest Control: More Tips from the Pros

Article excerpt

Pests, diseases, and weeds are easier to control when they're caught early. Grow plants that beneficial insectswhich feed on the pests-like. When allowed to flower, bronze fennel, carrots, celery, and parsley attract lacewings and syrphid flies. Pink clover and yarrow attract other beneficial insects.

If asparagus or cucumber beetles get out of hand on squash, melon, or bean plants, or if flea beetles invade cabbage, broccoli, and tomato seedlings, dust plants with rotenone.

Aphids: Wait two weeks after you first notice them to see whether lacewings, ladybird beetles, or syrphid flies arrive to control them. They usually do. Otherwise, hose them off with water.

Asparagus beetles: Spray these beetles off plants with water, or shake them off, then squish them.

Birds: Cover rows of seedlings or tender plants such as baby lettuce with bird netting over hoops. String reflective tape across vulnerable parts of the garden (while beets are small or tree fruit is ripe, for example). As breezes twist the shiny tape, it flashes in the sunlight, keeping birds away long enough to save the crop. To keep crows from eating corn seed, plant kernels extra-deep.

Codling moths: To keep these insects from traveling among fruits, thin small (1-inch-wide) apples to 4 to 6 inches apart before they grow large and begin to touch. …

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