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Proactive Pest Prevention

July is a great month to proactively suppress many landscape pest problems. Proactive measures are an important component of all pest programs whether you call it organic, plant health care, or integrated pest management (IPM). Like the old proverb says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

June bugs and fleas can be reduced with the use of beneficial nematodes. These parasitical worm-like creatures attack these pests in their larval and nymph stages. Now is a good time to apply them to the soil. Most experts prefer using the nematode sponges. Simply soak them in a bucket of water according to label directions and apply the solution to the soil.

Spider mites are another hot weather pest that can be difficult to control. Frequent and liberal use of seaweed extract solutions prior to and during infestations significantly reduces their effect. It’s important to spray beneath the leaves where they live and spray religiously every five to seven days. Aphids, lace bugs, and other sucking insects can be suppressed by seaweed products as well. Other products are insecticidal soaps and summer weight horticultural oils.

Generally, nature does a wonderful job in controlling pests, as long as we don’t meddle in the ecological processes. Predators, parasites, and disease generally maintain pests before the population initiates damage.

Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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