Integrated Pest ManagementIntegrated Pest Management is all about using the safest method you can to control or eliminate a pest.
This can include recognizing that what you see is not harmful to the plant and can be safely ignored. It might mean using a stream of water to dislodge insects, picking beetles off plants, or using spun poylester fabric to keep insects off vegetables so they aren't eaten by them, instead of us. In some cases, if a pesticide will prevent serious harm to the plant, it will help us decide what is the safest product to use to solve the problem and do as little damage as possible to the plant, us and the environment around us.
Identifying the pest is the important first step.
There are good books available, we have knowledgeable staff that can help you, and photographs of all of the most common pests are now on our website and can be found in this section. It is also important to recognize that all holes in leaves are not caused by insects, and that plants can survive very well with holes in their leaves. As long as there is enough leaf surface for photosynthesis, part of a leaf is just fine. If there are holes in leaves, that doesn't necessarily mean that an insect is there at that time. It may have eaten its fill and have gone by the time you notice the damage.
There is no point in spraying a hole! Some holes are caused by a short-lived fungus. Spraying the tree with an insecticide, when a fungus which is no longer a problem caused the holes, is not going to help.
Insects such as ladybugs are wonderful aphid eaters and should be treasured. Remember, though, that you can't use insecticides in your garden and then expect the ladybugs to be happy there! Do you know what ladybug larvae look like? If you see little dark blue armadillos with orange spots on them, welcome them. They eat more aphids than their parents do.
Keeping plants healthy makes them less susceptible to pest problems.
Most fungus lives best in wet, cool weather. Our nights are very cool and fungus will thrive on moist, cool leaves. Watering in the morning, when the weather will hopefully become warmer and drier, will make it much less likely that a fungus will grow. Some insects are drawn to plants that are under stress. Giving them the best growing conditions you can will cut down on damage. Some varieties of a plant are resistant to common insects or diseases, and are worth considering.
If you decide that a chemical pesticide is appropriate, it is very important to READ THE LABEL! The manufacturer has gone to a great deal of effort to find the most useful and safe concentration to use, and to identify plants that it can be used for. Making the mixture stronger won't work better, it likely won't be as effective, and the plant may suffer from too strong a concentration. The label will tell you what plants it can be used on, what insects it controls, when and how often to use it and what the concentration should be. Do it!
Ask us for help if you are concerned about a pest problem. We'll help you sort it out. Happy gardening!
The Good Guy Bugs:
Ladybugs should be protected and treasured. They overwinter under dry leaves in the garden. Don't disturb them too early in the spring - they need their rest!
There is a trick when you use ladybugs that not everyone knows so we are trying to spread the word. Ladybugs come to us dormant in cold packs. We then refrigerate at greengate to keep them in a dormant state. You may see a couple crawling around the bag, but most will be dormant. This is totally normal and they are very far from being dead. By the time you get home you will notice that they are waking up! Perhaps quite vehemently. It's okay. Let them get going in the bag, but as soon as you get home to prepare a spot for them. This is usually in your garden where the aphids are. Water the area you have chosen to release them. Let water stand in puddles and in drops on the leaves. This is an important step as when they wake up they are both hungry and thirsty. If there is no water there for them readily available then they will take off to find some and you don't want that. You want them to drink right where their food source is. Once they have quenched their thirst, they are going to set out looking for a meal. Both grubs and adults are on the menu. Release them at the base of the plant by just gently shaking them out of the bag medium and all. You can also let them loose in the branches and leaves as long as there is water there for them. Once they have been released sit back and relax. Mother Nature is now in charge. It won't take much time for a package of ladybugs to completely clear your plants. You should see a major reduction in just a couple of days as ladybugs are effective predators.
Leave some debris around your garden to help maintain as many ladybugs in your garden as possible. They will stick around if there is food, water and shelter. An area with lots of debris like bark, leaves, and piles of grass are excellent places for the ladybug to live in over winter, so as long as you provide these needs they should pretty much feel right at home.
Spiders are 'good guys' and should be welcomed. If they are a nuisance in certain areas, they can be discouraged with periodic sprays of cold water.
Honeybees are well-known black and yellow, furry flying insects. They are beneficial because they pollinate many of our flowering plants by distributing pollen while feeding on nectar. Without them, we would have less fruit. They generally don't bother people unless disturbed.
Honeybees are very useful and should be left to do their jobs. If they are a concern, plants they are attracted to should not be planted near 'people places'.
Mason bees do not produce honey. They also do not like to travel more than a few hundred feet from their nests. This makes them perfect for backyard bee enthusiasts. In the wild they build a nest inside tunnels left behind by tree boring insects. Mason bees cannot dig the tunnels themselves, but most look for an abandoned one. To help you help this super important polinator, we sell Mason bee "condos"..... (learn more)
They are one of the 'garbage men' of the plant world and are very useful in eliminating decaying plants left on the soil.
Ground beetles do no harm and should not be disturbed just because they are not 'pretty'!
Dragonflies are attractive and eat lots of mosquitoes - what more could you ask for?