Monday, January 18, 2010

Garden Insect Pests

Kiwis love their gardens. Here in the garden city, as elsewhere in the country, there is great pride taken in having a beautiful outdoor space. Usually summer weather allows us to use the garden as an extended part of the house. The term ‘good indoor outdoor flow’ is used regularly when estate agents sell property because the garden is such an important part of our lifestyle. But there are pests out there that would attack many of the plants in the garden, given the chance; aphids, white fly, mealy bugs, plant hoppers, psyllids, scale insects, mites, caterpillars, earwigs and more. All can attack our garden plants.

It should be recognised that most gardens are un-natural. They are full of cultivated plants, many of them introduced and along with them came many of the insect pests that would damage them. Many of the plants have been bred for their abundance of flowers or the taste of their fruit or their productiveness in the vege patch but not for their resistance to insects and disease. Here are some helpful tips in keeping your garden free from insect pests:
  1. If you are choosing new plants for your garden ask for ones resistant to insect attack and disease.
  2. Think about what insects and diseases are likely to attack the plants you have planted. Your garden centre should be able to give you advice.
  3. Think prevention. Don’t wait until your plants have a problem before acting. You don’t have to use chemical insecticides. For example the Kiwicare range includes organic control products such as Organic Super Spraying Oil for the prevention of aphids, whitefly, scale insects, mites and others. Organic Caterpillar Bio Control can prevent the cabbage butterfly caterpillars eating your vegetables. NO Ants Organic Barrier can prevent ants and other insects climbing plants where they would farm aphids.
  4. Use chemical insecticides sparingly and think about how they might affect beneficial insects such as lady bugs and bees. There are some varieties of plants such as roses that can be very susceptible to aphids. These should be sprayed carefully with systemic insecticides and fungicides to prevent attack. Kiwicare Spectrum comes in a liquid and powder form for the protection of roses, fruit trees and ornamentals. The powder version is more effective for getting rid of a problem and the liquid form is handy for prevention.
  5. Make sure only the susceptible plants are sprayed with insecticide leaving other plants safe for beneficial insects.
  6. As well as sap sucking insect pests there are insect larvae in the soil that might attack the roots of our plants. For example grass grub and porina caterpillar attack the roots of our lawns and cluster fly larvae attack the worms that fertilize and condition the soil. Slow release granules such as Lawngard Prills can keep soil insect pest from causing this damage.
Look after your garden and enjoy the late summer days in your outdoor room.

A woman goes to the doctor with a large flower growing out of the top of her head.
The doctor looks at the flower and says. ‘That is quite remarkable. I’ve never seen anything like that before. But I’ll soon prune it down.’
‘Prune it?’ snapped the woman. ‘I don’t want the flower cut off. I just want it treated for greenfly.’

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