Whether you spend a lot of time out in your yard entertaining, gardening, playing with the kids or pets, or otherwise using the space, there’s nothing quite as annoying as continually having to ward off pests. From those that bite your skin and cause a mess to others that eat your plants and become a nuisance, there are plenty of creepy crawlies you may have to deal with in your outdoor space.
If you’re not keen on using chemical sprays to get rid of them though, it’s important to know there are plenty of natural ways to keep them at bay. Read on for some tips you can follow today.
Firstly, apart from making your yard look well-kept, regularly mowing your lawn and raking up leaves also has a benefit when it comes to pests. Many pesky beetles, parasites, and other creatures like to make long grass, weeds, and fallen leaves their home. As such, if you remove this temptation, you can reduce their numbers in your yard.
In addition, by keeping your yard neat and free from debris, this will help the soil beneath your lawn and plants to get more air, water, and sunlight. In turn, this will help them to be healthier and most resistant to pest invasions.
Mosquitoes, in particular, but also many other types of pests, love water. As a result, if you want to keep them at bay, it’s important to find ways to eliminate still water lying around in your outdoor areas. For example, empty out clam-shell pools, buckets, and other containers when they’re not being used, and try to not have too many pots sitting around that have deep bases where water can collect after lots of watering or rain.
As well, when it comes to watering your lawn and plants, this is best done in the morning. When you do this job earlier in the day, the soil has a chance to dry by the time night comes, when critters such as snails and slugs are typically out and about. If the soil is dry by then though, they will be less active.
Next, look into ways to encourage creatures into your yard that will actually eat the pests you want to get rid of. Aphids, especially, can be a big pain and cause lots of damage to plants. Insects such as ladybirds, lacewings, praying mantises, spiders, parasitic wasps, soldier beetles, damsel bugs, and hoverflies will happily feast away on pests if they’re in your yard.
You can encourage these natural predators into your garden by planting things that attract them, such as sunflowers, mint, fennel, dill, dandelion, carrots, daisies, asters, Echinacea, nasturtiums, lupines, and yarrow. If you don’t seem to be attracting these creatures into your yard enough to eat up the aphids, keep in mind that you can actually buy lacewing larvae and some other insects from specialist outlets.
Similarly, keep in mind that there are numerous plant varieties around that happen to deter pests, and which you should consider adding to your yard. Typically, these plants act as nature’s version of bug repellent because insects don’t like the smells of the essential oils found within them, and tend to avoid them as a result.
If you want to deter annoying pests, strategically place certain plants around your garden and on your patio(s). For example, basil can repel house flies and mosquitoes; lavender can ward off moths, fleas, mosquitoes, and flies; rosemary can deter mosquitoes and numerous insects which are harmful to vegetable plants; chives can turn off aphids, Japanese beetles, and carrot flies; parsley can be a no-no for asparagus beetles; thyme can ward off whiteflies, corn earworms, cabbage maggots, tomato hornworms, and more; and dill can repel slugs, aphids, and snails.
Aside from herbs, there are numerous ornamental flowers worth planting too. For instance, nasturtiums can protect your vegetable gardens from whiteflies, aphids, cabbage loopers, squash bugs, and various beetles; chrysanthemums can keep ticks, fleas, Japanese beetles, roaches, harlequin bugs, spider mites, and ants away; marigolds can help you get rid of aphids and mosquitoes; and petunias can ward off leafhoppers, aphids, asparagus beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms.
While adding these plants doesn’t mean that you’ll get rid of pests all together, it can help to reduce their numbers, and is a good strategy to use in conjunction with other tactics mentioned above and below.
Lastly, when it comes to getting rid of problem-causing insects in your yard, consider placing barriers around plants to protect them. For example, crushed egg shells spread around the plants slugs and snails like to munch on can be helpful, as the pests won’t want to move their soft bodies against the jagged edges.
Similarly, thin bands of copper sheet metal used as unobtrusive edging around plants can repel slugs and snails. The slimy coatings they have on their bodies can generate a reaction when coming into contact with copper (similar to an electric current) and this can send them on their way.
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.
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