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Controlling pests with chemicals

Advice for using chemicals in your garden

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Troubleshooting with insecticides
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.

Using 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.

See also:
A directory of common garden pests and diseases
Environment-friendly pest and disease control
Buy pest controls


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