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PESTICIDE JOY_
Pests and Diseases

PESTICIDE JOY

There is a lot of pests I want to remove from my garden. But when you use pesticides on your lawns, remember that some of your best friends play a lot around on them. And are you sure that all the poison you use just disappears completely?

I am for sure not against the use of herbicides and pesticides in the garden. I think its a lot better that people get up and around, trying to grow their own flowers, vegetables and/or fruits, than giving up because of horrid aphids attacks, fire ants or weed makes it seem impossible to handle the gardenwork. It’s too sad that people give up on their outdoorsy environment because everything is too difficult. Your hard garden work has to be a little rewarding too!

It will be fewer garden pests to remove and your garden will manage a lot better If you improve soil and drainage around your plants, feed them with some fertilizer and protect them from drought, heat and cold with some mulch.
This will surely lead to better overall plant health and the plants will tolerate insect attack, drought, scorching sun and everything that threats our Texan gardens a lot better. And we have to accept that every plant appears completely perfect the whole season.
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Leafminers. Roll up the leaf and squish the larvas. Reduce the population significantly with Neem oil.

Yes, there are more potentially dangerous insects (and some animals) for humans here than in Scandinavia, and the warm climate makes it sometimes more difficult to get rid of aphids, mites, ants, fungus, spiders and other pests. But really! I can see that a lot of the wildlife do bad things with peoples greenery, but I’m deeply impressed by the level of pesticide joy I find here!

It seems that the spirit of defending themselves runs deep here in Texas and it also applies to anything that crawls, flies and walks around in the garden. But there are less damaging ways to get rid of your garden pests.

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Rootrot on my Rosemary. I loosened up the soil, cut out the bad parts and manage to save this one. Lost three others. The keyword is soil improvement. Rosemary needs really good drainage!

 

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Mealybugs on some potted Agave’s. You can remove it with rubbing alcohol on the bugs they say. I have flushed it with water. Mixed result.

 

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Bagworms. The best you can do is to pick them off and throw them in the bin. Worked best for me. Still not fully rid of them, and they do some substantial damage.

But just be a little conscious. Think twice. Is it really necessary to pour out all the poison, or can you live with some tattered leaves?
I can clearly see that new gardeners get frustrated when they read that if you plant Marigold you get rid of the aphids. You don’t. You can reduce the population some, but that’s all. It’s sad to read about all the folk remedies that get recommended. In my opinion, it often frustrates and upset worried gardeners to feel even more helpless. I am sure it’s done with the best of intentions to give healthy alternatives to upsetting garden catastrophes.

When your bountiful cucumber plants are frilled, withering and yellow looking, you will not kill all the Spider mites who is to blame for this with only one leaf rinse with the water hose. It will kill some of them, but you have to repeat the rinse very often. (Like every day or every other day over two weeks period). And you need to rinse the underside of most of the leaves because in my experience its there they live. that is a lot of work and frustration for some cucumbers, and maybe not even worth it, so I understand very well that people turn to poison instead.

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Birds eating my tomatoes. Hate it.

I don’t have any clear cut answers on this. Keep the plants in as good condition as you can manage, and sometimes you just have to realize that this plant will not thrive in your garden either its pests or just the wrong soil or place. 
One of the few presumably ecological safe alternatives that work OK that I have used is Neem Oil. You can read more about it here.
You don’t get much butterflies and birds in your garden if every fly, wasp and larva is poisoned to death.  Try to take care of Texas really beautiful and diverse wildlife, waterways and greenery. Please?

You can find more about insects, pests and diseases here. Texas A&M University has really good sites about this, and a realistic approach.

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