Pests and diseases are the gardener’s curse,
but with care they can be controlled and their
effects minimised. Sound cultivation and good
feeding will provide strong, healthy plants that
will be more resistant to pests and diseases.
chemicals with care
Although, in the case of plant diseases, prevention
is better than cure, blanket-spraying with chemicals
is environmentally unsound. Use chemicals only
when absolutely necessary, and then sparingly.
If you use a chemical treatment that might also
be harmful to beneficial insects, such as bees,
spray very early in the morning or very late evening
when the insects are not active. Choose a time
when the foliage is dry and the air still. Systematic
insecticides are applied to foliage and become
absorbed into the plant’s system. Use them
as directed on the package. It is fatal only to
those insects that feed on the plant’s leaves,
steams or sap, and does not affect pollinating
insects except at the time of application. Contact
sprays, however, are non-selective and kill both
pests and beneficial insects they come into contact
with. Both contact sprays and non-systematic fungicides
are short-lived. Again, use them as directed.
Make sure you use the right chemical product for
the specific pest, disease and plant type. Read
the container label carefully, and follow the
instructions to the letter. Spray the undersides
of leaves as well as the tops thoroughly, unless
the manufacturer states otherwise.
Wash the sprayer before and after use, and don’t
store any unused diluted liquids, except those
obtained ready for use as a spray. Keep all chemicals
in their original containers, with the top well
secured, and store them out of reach of children
and pets, preferably under lock and key. Buy fresh
chemicals as necessary each year, and dispose
of the previous year’s safely.
Spring trouble spots
Aphids emerge from their overwintered eggs at
this time. Spray at the first real signs of infestation.
Use a systematic insecticide or derris powder.
Also at this time protect your young plants against
cats. There are proprietary products for discouraging
them, and curry powder sprinkled around plants
is also effective.
directory of common garden pests and diseases
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