How to Prevent Pests from Eating your Plants

Pests can eat your plants and eventually destroy your garden.  Keeping off pests is not an easy task but luckily there are numerous ways in preventing these pests from eating your plants.  


The easiest way to prevent insect damage in your garden is to discourage them from coming in the first place. A healthy garden is the best defense.

  • Pull out any weak plants. They may already be infected. If not, they will attract predators. Pull the plant and dispose of it away from the garden area.
  • Build healthy, organic soil. Natural composting methods, mulching and top-dressing your soil with compost or natural fertilizer is the best way to develop strong, vigorous plants.
  • Seaweed mulch or spray. Seaweed contains trace elements such as iron, zinc, barium, calcium, sulfur and magnesium, which promote healthy development in plants. Seaweed fertilizer in mulch or spray form will enhance growth and give plants the strength to withstand disease. Seaweed mulch also repels slugs.
  • Minimize insect habitat. Clear garden area of debris and weeds which are breeding places for insects. Use clean mulch.
  • Interplant and rotate crops. Insect pests are often plant specific. When plantings are mixed, pests are less likely to spread throughout a crop. Rotating crops each year is a common method to avoid re-infestation of pests which have over-wintered in the bed.
  • Keep foliage dry. Water early so foliage will be dry for most of the day. Wet foliage encourages insect and fungal damage to your plants. See our page on drip-irrigation for methods of delivering water to the root systems without wetting the foliage.
  • Disinfect. If you’ve been working with infested plants, clean your tools before moving on to other garden areas. This will reduce the speed of invading insects.

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Pests tend to target the weak and dying plants in a garden.  In order to not have weak or dying plants, it is necessary to keep the whole garden flourishing with health and life.  The daily gardening routine of pulling out weeds, putting on fertilizer and watering the plants is insufficient. There are other things that need to be considered.  A simple act of disinfecting your gardening tools can help a lot, especially if you used them in pulling out plants infected with pests.

Watering the plants earlier will allow the garden soil to dry quicker.  Since pests love wet soil, this simple act of early watering can prevent these pests from creating their nests in your garden, minimizing the chances of them eating your plants.

Choose Your Plants Wisely

Some plants and plant varieties are more prone to pest issues than others. Preventing pests in your garden is sometimes as simple as choosing pest-resistant vegetables. For example, if squash bugs constantly plague your winter squash plants, ‘Butternut’ and ‘Royal Acorn’ are two of the most resistant varieties. Or, if Colorado potato beetles always try to defoliate your potato crop, plant ‘King Harry’ potato (a variety bred at Cornell University) which has very hairy leaves that the beetles won’t eat. Seek out pest- and disease-resistant varieties of other vegetables, too.

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Who would have thought that not all plants are prone to pests?  Yes, that’s correct, there are numerous pest-resistant plants and vegetables that you can use to fill-up your garden.  In order to know more about such plants, research can be done via the internet and consultations can be done with Gardeners.  By choosing the right type or variety of plant, you can save yourself from the hassle of getting rid of plant pests easily.

For more information about how you can combat pests that are destroying your garden, it’s best that you talk to an expert.

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