By David S.
Early spring rains mixed with the steady increase of sunlight fuel the rapid growth of plants. Within all forms of life is the drive to succeed and for plants, that goal is all about producing seeds. That success means a race to grow and take advantage of the new soil nutrients caused by fall and winter weather. The rain washes nutrients from the humus layer of soil down into the root zones of plants. This means healthy soil and vigorous plant growth. It also means more weeds and where you have such a bounty, you have an increase in pests, such as insects. At Green Thumb Nursery we see knowledge as power, and we are happy to share the power of what we know to help you grow a beautiful yard that is free of weeds and pests. Below, find our suggestions for tools and products that empower you to control both weeds and yard pests.
Regular yard maintenance is the best tool for controlling weeds and the potential for pests. This is a beautiful time of year to be outside and working in the yard and garden. Be sure to check out the many tools that we offer. Good tools help to decrease the amount of labor involved in yard and garden work. Look for tools that fit your body. This means quality pruners and sheers that are comfortable in your hands. It also means having the right tool to do the job, and for many of us, this journey starts with work gloves. Gloves should protect your hands while allowing you the full use of your fingers and not impede the strength of your grasp. Tools can be expensive, but a quality tool that is cared for will generally last for years if not decades. Tools should offer efficiency and help to decrease the struggle to complete a job.
Spring Garden and Yard Chores
Beyond mowing is a long list of chores that are “sustainable.” The key to controlling weeds and pests is to look for those constant tasks. Mowing, pruning, trimming, etc., and then seeking a solution that helps prevent ongoing chores. For weeds, the answer may be a chemical – organic or non-organic or it might be a tool that makes early removal of plants easier so that late season weeding is diminished. You can take the “sustainable” out of weed growth and pest issues by using the proper tools or products.
One of the best tools available at Green Thumb Nursery is free – We offer and give away a ton of quality advice each year. Shop, ask, buy – great information leads to solutions that help you accomplish more while doing less work. Shop our complete line of power tools and mowers and be sure to talk with our experts about the yard care challenges that you face. Chances are that we have a tool that will help take some work out of yard maintenance by addressing “sustainable” chores.
Pest Control and Spring Rains
When you have an abundance of fresh growth in plants you have pests. The mild winter and early spring mean that plants have more resources and time to grow and that means more food for pests – insects, rodents, small mammals, and birds. All the spring growth also coincides with new garden plants which are often a target.
We expect a larger population of hemipterans — Stink bugs, Boxelder bugs, aphids, etc. These are insects that have piercing-sucking mouthparts — straw-like — that they use to suck the juices from plants. A non-organic solution is a systemic pesticide. These are applied via watering the roots of the plant so that the toxin is uplifted through the roots and kills the pest as it feeds. Systemics are safer for the bee population as they target only insect pests that are sup suckers. There are also plenty of organic answers to pest control too.
Live insects or biological controls use the predatory side of nature to combat pests. Ladybugs, praying mantis, and green lacewings are three examples of live insects that you can buy from Green Thumb Nursery. All three are what we call generalists as they eat a wide range of other insects. Their prey ranges from leafminers and scale insects to giant moths and larva. These are an excellent addition to gardens as they work all season long to combat pests before those populations become noticeable. We carry many live options for pest control including predatory mites and nematodes. Be sure to talk to our garden experts about pest control problems that might be occurring in your yard or garden.
We also have a long list of organic chemicals that address pest control issues without damaging crops or diminish the safe eating of garden produce. Sluggo is an organic bait that addresses problems with snails and slugs. Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is another organic topical that address problems with leafminers. Neem Oil uses aromatics to deter pests on specific plants. Neem is an excellent product for use on vegetables or on particular plants that attract pests.
Hemipterans are one of the largest groups of garden and yard pests. They are followed closely by lepidopteran caterpillars, many of which are from moths. These include tomato hornworms, tobacco hornworms, and cutworms – which are caterpillars and not worms.
A topical that we recommend is Organocide which is a blend of three types of plant-based oils that works well to remove garden pests without harming bees or pollinators.
We also offer sealed garden systems such as the Vegepod which has netting or a cover that prevents pests from getting into your growing space.
The short of it is that Green Thumb Nursery offers many solutions to combat yard pests and maintenance. The trick is to ask our experts so that we can help you understand the underlying issues and recommend products that take the “sustainability” out of yard work and pest control.
Remember that spring is the time when everyone is doing garden and yard chores. As such, our product availability changes daily for each of our five store locations throughout Southern California. If you are interested in a particular tool or product featured in our garden newsletter, it is always best to call ahead and check if it is available.
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