Jerry Baker...America's Master Gardener®
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A beautiful, blooming garden can be reduced to rubble in the blink of an eye if garden pests have their way. Prevention is necessary, but it’s seldom enough to keep the thugs from buggin’ your plants.

First up, treat the perimeter of your garden with my
All Season Clean-Up Tonic:
and apply it with your 20 gallon hose-end sprayer. Follow this tonic with Total Pest Control at the recommended rate.

Minor infestations can be treated with simple water—just spray the little buggers with water to knock ’em off the plants.

Common flower bugs include mites, fruit flies, and aphids (especially on your roses). To treat these, use Garden Dust. It’s effective against both disease and pests, and it’ll keep your blooms big, bold, and beautiful.

Steamed bone meal repels ants, and prevents them from spreading aphids. It also helps to keep leaf rollers away from strawberry plants.

If slimies are overrunning your flowers, pour some grape juice or beer into margarine tubs and sink them into the ground. Slugs will crawl in to drink, but not out!

If you have sow bugs (also called pill bugs) eating the roots of your plants, halved cantaloupe hulls can be used to trap them. You can also try old corncobs. Place the hulls or cobs under flowerpots; when the bugs are trapped, tap them off into a container filled with kerosene.

Regular spraying of your yard and garden with Plant Shampoo will go a long way toward keeping insects under control.

Enlist the aid of ladybugs, praying mantises, and green lacewings to help even up the numbers. These good bugs feed off of the bad bugs. To attract ladybugs to your garden—especially important if you’re under an aphid attack—plant marigolds, angelica, or yarrow. Praying mantises will eat just about anything, even each other! Attract these garden guards by planting raspberry canes, cosmos, or any leafy or wooden plants. Lacewings are not picky, either, and can consume a vast amount of bad bugs—up to 60 aphids in an hour! They’re most at home in gardens with goldenrod, angelica, and oleander. Try planting some of these help-harboring plants, and draft some new soldiers!

Fighting insects is a never-ending battle. It's important to keep your flower gardens clean and protected during the coming months. Staying one step ahead of the bugs will help your flowers and vegetables grow healthy, happy and beautiful.


Keep spider mites away from your blooms with my Super Spider Mite Mix:
Mix all of the ingredients together, and apply to your plants with a handheld mist sprayer. Spray to the point of runoff. This mix will suffocate the little buggers without harming your plants.

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Celebrating 51 years as
America's Master Gardener®
Celebrating 51 years as America's Master Gardener
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