Natural Ways to Control Summer Garden Pests

Summer is your garden’s time to shine. Long, sunny days mean that everything is in full bloom, lush and green. Unfortunately, pests also know that summer is the best time to live in your garden! All that vegetation provides them with food and shelter. If left unchecked, your poor garden may be eaten away before summer’s end.

Luckily, there are ways to get rid of these pests, and you can even do so organically so you don’t harm kids, pets or wildlife. Here’s a look at some of summer’s top pests, and how to deal with them.

Japanese Beetles – If you can get over the “ick” factor, the best way to get rid of Japanese beetles is to pluck them off your roses and dunk them in a bucket of soapy water. If you’d rather not get up close and personal with them, look for an organic, neem-based pesticide that can help control them.

Slugs – To repel slugs, try scattering coffee grounds around the affected plants. Copper is another good choice – you can wrap it around containers or put bands around plants. To create a slug trap, put a citrus fruit rind in a shallow container along with some grape juice. Slugs will be attracted to the rind and drown in the grape juice.

Aphids/Spider Mites – Remove heavily damaged leaves, bag them and dispose of properly. Then spray the underside of the affected plants with a high-pressure stream of water from the hose. To control the problem, spray your garden with a soap solution, rosemary oil, or a natural pesticide that contains rosemary oil. Just be sure to check a small area first, as this could cause some leaf burn in more sensitive plants.

Wildlife (ex. deer, rabbits) – They may be cute, but wildlife like deer and rabbits can wreak havoc on your garden! If a fence isn’t keeping them away, try spraying plants with a garlic and pepper spray, which will make them unappealing as a meal. You can also use a commercial product such as Liquid Fence to keep them at bay.

A few final tips to consider:

Introduce “beneficials” to your garden. Ladybugs and lacewings are two good choices, and will control aphids, caterpillars and more. Praying mantis is one of the top garden predators, but beware – they will eat ALL bugs, including other beneficials.

One of the best things you can do to control the insect population is to grow pest-resistant plants.  Many herbs, such as basil, dill and lavender, have pest-deterrent properties. For color, consider marigolds, 

Star® Roses and Plants employees share their unique horticultural perspectives.

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