Battling Bugs and Weeds

As the season moves forward, we are getting hit with not only rain and not so good weather but the weeds and insects are moving in as well.

As a natural and organic gardener I am constantly battling those pesky weeds and now diseases. It is important to know what you are fighting in your garden by doing some investigating.

I do a lot of traveling throughout the area and look at many yards. I noticed red thread in many lawns. Some spittle bugs are feeding, tent caterpillars are around and aphids are eating like crazy.

Weeds seem to grow overnight and once weeded they are there again. How can we fight this you ask?

Instead of just putting chemicals down which kills not only the target pest but the good ones as well, do some investigating. The red thread in the lawn tells me there is high moisture that sits on the soil surface for long periods of time. It is very important to fix the drainage issues with your soil.

Thatching and aerating at the right times and feeding the soil will be a good start. On some of the lawns I thatched earlier and I top dressed with fish compost for a nice green carpet.

Fixing your drainage issue is the key. Start now raising the soil fertility, top dress annually.

Spring time means bugs are starting their annual breeding cycle. They eat up your prized plants to make offspring’s. Investigate the plant. See what bug is doing the damage. I like to carry a magnifying lens. There are many available and come in many different magnifications.

And use integrated pest management. There are three steps in IPM: cultural, by taking all means in keeping your garden clean and health; physical, using the right tools like traps, pruning, and any other method to target the pest or disease; and biological control, the use of beneficial insects to eat the target pests.

Put your CSI hat on and find the problem. Chemicals should be the last thing to use, but if you take the right steps you won’t have to use them at all. I promise!

Reader Question:

Q. I have aphids on my camellia bush, what do I do?

A. You have already begun the IPM method. You found the culprit. Now the next step is to use some of the physical means. Get a water hose and spray off the bush. Prune to open the plant up. Now, introduce the biological control by introducing lady beetles. They love to eat the aphids. Try those three steps and the use of chemicals will be eliminated.

Happy Gardening,

Gardener Joe

You can contact Gardener Joe at


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