Tips And Methods To Watch For, Prevent, And Treat Your Garden For Pest Infestation Damage

Posted on: 15 May 2018

Growing a garden is a fun hobby and a great way to see your hard work pay off with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a gardener, you may have experienced one or more garden pests that have damaged some of your vegetable plants; fortunately, there are methods you can use to prevent and treat your garden to protect your plants from further infestations and damage. Here are some tips to help you accomplish this.

Know What to Watch For

There are many types of pests that will affect and kill your garden plants. Some pests cause irreversible damage to your plants, and when you have discovered the damage, it is too late. Other pests cause damage that can be stopped, and you can prevent further damage occurring to your plants.

One type of irreversible damage occurs from a cutworm. An obvious sign of this pest's damage is when, after planting your vegetable seedlings, the stem of each plant has been cut off, killing the entire plant. The damage caused by a cutworm looks like someone stepped on your seedling and snapped of the top of the plant from its roots.

Some pests transmit a virus or bacteria that ends up harming your garden plants. One such virus affects the leaves of your tomato plant and is transmitted by the silverleaf whitefly. This whitefly acquires the virus from landing and feeding on another infected plant. After this, the whitefly is infected for 10 to 12 days, and when it feeds on your tomato plant, the virus gets into your plant. Your plant's leaves will begin to curl and turn yellow and wilted, stunting the plant and the growth of its fruit. Bacterial wilt, another virus, is similarly transmitted to your cucumber plants by an infected cucumber beetle during its feeding, and the disease will kill your entire cucumber plant in a short time.

Use Prevention Strategies

Although difficult at times, prevention of garden pests is the best strategy. Keeping your garden free of weeds and excess debris is a good way to keep pests from hiding out around your plants. Pests such as grasshoppers prefer to live in dry grasses and weeds, so keep your yard clear of this type of habitat to reduce grasshopper damage.

Beginning in spring, be on the lookout for damaging beetles, such as squash and cucumber beetles, which tend to live on and around your squash and other vine plants. If you see them, pick them off and put them into a plastic bag you can seal up and throw away. You can also use your vacuum to remove them from your plants or spray a mixture of water and Dawn dish soap to kill them.

If you encounter a wilting plant, such as a tomato or cucumber plant with obvious signs of a virus or bacteria, remove the entire plant from your garden and place it into a sealed trash bag and dispose of it into the curbside trash to prevent the virus from spreading to your other plants. You don't ever want to compost these diseased plants, as they can cause the virus or bacteria to spread to your or your neighbors' gardens.

To prevent cutworms from killing your newly-planted seedlings, cut a toilet paper tube to shorten its length and place it within the soil around the stem of your seedlings to keep cutworms from feeding on the stem. You can also call a local pest control service, such as Affordable Pest Control, to treat your entire garden in early spring with an insecticide appropriate for use in a vegetable garden. This will eliminate any eggs or insects that are newly hatching or have overwintered in your garden soil, preventing an infestation problem.