Landscaping Tips for Home Owners and Garden Lovers



It would be great if we could garden without any interference from the pests that attack our plants. Gardening would be a simple matter. But nature just doesn't give us that break. We've got to be alert to what the unwanted garden pests are doing and be prepared for the tremendous havoc they can create.

Just as human illness can often be prevented by healthful conditions, pests may be kept away by strict garden cleanliness. Heaps of waste are lodging places for the breeding of insects. Unkempt, uncared-for spots seem to invite trouble.

Nature does have its checks and balances, and in some instances, provides means to keep the pest population down, but not completely gone.

Garden Design should provide for the Birds that help control garden pestsMany of our common birds feed upon insects. The sparrows, robins, chickadees, meadow larks and orioles are examples of birds that help in this way.

Earthworms, for example, keep the soil open to air and water by stirring up the soil.

Some insects feed on other and harmful insects. The ichneumon-fly helps too. And toads are wonders in the number of insects they can consume at one meal. The toad deserves very kind treatment from all of us.

Each gardener should try to make her or his garden into a place attractive to birds and toads. A good birdhouse, grain sprinkled about in early spring, a water-place, are invitations for birds to stay a while in your garden.

Friendly frogs provide natural control for many garden pestsIf you want toads, fix things up for them too. During a hot summer day a toad likes to rest in the shade. By night he is ready to go forth to eat but not to kill, since toads prefer live food. How can one "fix up" for toads? Well, one thing to do is to prepare a retreat, quiet, dark and damp. A few stones of some size underneath the shade of a shrub with perhaps a carpeting of damp leaves, make a nice habitat for a toad.

There are two general classes of insects known by the way they do their work. One kind gnaws at the plant really taking pieces of it into its system. This kind of gnawing insect has a mouth fitted to do this work. Grasshoppers and caterpillars are of this sort.

The other kind sucks the juices from a plant. This, in some ways, is the worst sort. Plant lice belong here, as do mosquitoes, which prey on us. All the sucking insects fasten themselves on plants, and suck out the life of the plants.

Is it possible to fight these bugs? The gnawing fellows can be controlled with poison sprayed upon plants, which they take into their bodies along with the plant they eat.

To control the pests that suck juices from the plants, the only thing is to attack the insect directly. Certain insecticides, as they are called, are sprayed on the plant to fall upon the insect. The chemicals do the  deadly work of attacking the body of the insect.

Sometimes, underground insects at work do deadly damage to our gardens. Identifying the insect doing the damage isn't always easy.

You can tell partly by the work done, and partly by seeing the insect itself - not always so easy to accomplish. Cutworms are elusive, but the damage is very evident.  If stalks of tender plants are cut clean off, it's pretty sure the cutworm is around your garden. What it looks like is a hard question to answer because its family is a large one. Should you see a grayish striped caterpillar, you can assume it's a cutworm.

But because of its habit of resting in the ground during the day and working by night, it's difficult to catch sight of one. The cutworm is around early in the season ready to cut the flower stalks of the hyacinths. When the peas come on a bit later, he is ready for them. A very good way to block him off is to put paper collars, or tin ones, about the plants. These collars should be about an inch away from the plant.

Plant lice are more common. They are often green in color. But they can be red, yellow or brown. Lice are easy enough to find since they are always clinging to their host. As sucking insects they have to cling close to a plant for food, and one is pretty sure to find them. But the biting insects do their work, and then go hide. That makes them much more difficult to deal with.

Love the ladybugs - they help control plant pests, too
  Some insects feed on other
  harmful insects. Some types of
  ladybugs do this good deed.

Rose slugs
do great damage to the rose bushes. They eat out the body of the leaves, so that just the veining is left. They are soft-bodied, green above and yellow below.

The striped beetle attacks young melons and squash leaves. It eats the leaf by riddling out holes in it. This beetle, as its name implies, is striped. The back is black with yellow stripes running lengthwise.

Then there are the slugs which are garden pests. The slug will devour almost any garden plant, whether it be a flower or a vegetable. They lay lots of eggs in old rubbish heaps. A good reason to clean out any rubbish. The slugs do more harm in the garden than almost any other single insect pest. You can discover them in the following way.

There is a trick for bringing them to the surface of the ground in the day time. You see they rest during the day below ground. So just water the soil in which the slugs are supposed to be. How are you to know where they are? They are quite likely to hide near the plants they are feeding on. So water the ground with some nice clean lime water. This will disturb them, and up they'll poke to see what the matter is.

Beside these most common of pests, pests which attack many kinds of plants, there are special pests for special plants.  Beans have pests of their own; so have potatoes and cabbages. In fact, the vegetable garden has many inhabitants. In the flower garden lice are very bothersome, the cutworm and the slug have a good time there, too, and ants often get very numerous as the season advances.

A common pest in the vegetable garden is the tomato worm. This is a large yellowish or greenish striped worm. Its work is to eat into the young fruit.

A light green caterpillar attacks celery. The celery caterpillar can be identified by black bands, one on each ring or segment of its body.

The squash bug has a brown body which is long and slender, and by the disagreeable odor from it when killed. The potato bug is another fellow to look out for. It's a beetle with yellow and black stripes down its crusty back. The little green cabbage worm is a perfect nuisance. It is a small caterpillar, smaller than the tomato worm.

But for real discouraging insect troubles the vegetable garden takes the prize. If you grow fruit to any extent, perhaps the vegetable garden would have to resign in favor of the fruit garden.

These are perhaps the most common of vegetable garden pests by name. The best way to keep the pest population under some control is to check your gardens regularly and attack at the first sight of their damage.

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Basic Landscaping Tips

Simple Ideas

Landscape your Home

Landscape your Yards

Perfect Landscape Design

Selecting Plants
     Native Plants
     Pest Resistant

Best Landscaping Rocks

Patio Landscaping

Large Gardens
     Rose Gardens

Small Gardens
     Flower beds and
     Herb gardens
( Patio, window sill
       and yard)

Garden Pest Control
      Things to Use to fight plant enemies

Lawn Care
     When to Fertilize


Birds and Wildlife
       Bird Feeders

Selecting a Landscaping Contractor

Common Problems


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