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Gardening: 7 Worst Home Garden Pests

By    |   Tuesday, 11 October 2016 08:49 AM

There are few things that will throw a good-natured gardener into a rage faster than having their hard work outdoors destroyed by any of these naturally occurring garden pests.

Whether insects or animals, these pests can ruin your vegetable harvest or perennials in short order.

Here are seven of the worst:

1. Aphids — These soft-bodied, tiny insects weaken plants by sucking the juices from leaves and stems, says Gardener’s Supply. Plants can tolerate a small number of aphids, but they reproduce rapidly. Ladybugs and their larvae, for example, are natural predators.

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2. Deer — Due to habitat loss, deer are often plentiful in many suburban neighborhoods. Active at dusk, these animals will feed on the foliage of ornamental plants, shrubs, and even trees. Rodale’s Organic Life suggests fences at least eight feet high to keep deer away. You can also use plants deer don’t like to eat.

3. Rabbits — These innocent-looking woodland animals reproduce quickly and are voracious eaters of leafy green vegetables and many types of flowering perennials. Rodale’s Organic Life suggests using chicken wire fencing in the garden to protect plants.

4. Japanese beetles — These flying insects are active for four to six weeks in early summer and will mate and feed upon foliage of vegetables and perennials. They are especially fond of plants in the rose family and can do serious damage quickly. Organic grub control and hand picking the adults is effective for reducing their numbers, says Tomato Envy.

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5. Tomato hornworms — These fat green caterpillars are the larvae of the beautiful sphinx moth, says Gardener’s Supply. They feed on plants in the nightshade family like tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes. Hand picking them is effective, but leave them alone if you see white projections on their bodies. These are the larvae of beneficial parasitic wasps that are already killing the worm.

6. Cabbage worm — The ubiquitous white cabbage moth won’t damage plants, but their larvae feed on cool weather brassicas like cabbage, kale, and broccoli and can devastate healthy plants, says Tomato Envy. Hand pick the worms and protect plants from egg-laying moths with floating row covers.

7. Colorado potato beetle — These striped beetles destroy tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. Gardener’s Supply advises hand picking the adults and crushing the masses of yellow eggs they lay on the undersides of leaves.

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Brande Plotnick is an ambitious home cook, gardener, beekeeper, writer, and speaker who started her website, Tomato Envy, to inspire others to find their deliberately decadent life at home. Brande’s down-to-earth style and approachable manner have been winning over the readers who follow her blog. Her work has been featured in Urban Farm Magazine, Natural Awakenings, Mother Earth News, and the Whole Seed Catalog.

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There are few things that will throw a good-natured gardener into a rage faster than having their hard work outdoors destroyed by any of these naturally occurring garden pests.
gardening, worst, home, pests
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 08:49 AM
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