Prevention You can stop a lot of pest problems by growing hardy, well-adapted plants. Putting the right plant in the right place allows it to grow strong and thwart insect attack. A plant that languishes, for whatever reason, is ripe for pest problems. To find plant information, check the plant label or a reference book, or ask a nursery professional or consult your local extension service. Basically, you need to know the sun or shade tolerance, moisture preference and soil requirements of plants in your yard. If you have a plant growing where it shouldn't be, consider removing it or transplanting it to a more suitable location.
Mix It Up
Large expanses of a single type of plant invite pest feeding frenzies, so you should grow a variety of plants. Instead of a solid privet hedge, for instance, consider smaller clusters of viburnums, chokeberries, barberries, or similar shrubs hardy in your climate. And rather than using uniform plantings of yews along the foundation, intersperse spireas, weigelas and other flowering shrubs. These multiplant arrangements reduce pest problems and also look more interesting.
Welcome the Good Guys
Encourage beneficial insects — the ones that kill bad bugs — by growing plants these insects are drawn to for food and shelter. Particularly desirable plants are members of the following families: carrot (dill, parsley, fennel); daisy (coneflower, coreopsis, zinnias); and mustard (sweet alyssum, basket-of-gold alyssum and, when allowed to flower, broccoli).
Keep the Garden Tidy
Weeds provide good breeding grounds for insect pests. Keep them mowed to prevent unwanted bugs from moving into your yard.
Keep an Eye on Plants
Inspect suspicious areas, and destroy severely infested plants. It makes sense to sacrifice a single marigold crawling with spider mites before the pests engulf the entire planting. Taking weekly observational strolls through the garden will help you nip problems in the bud before they become epidemic.
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