Kentucky Garden Pests

The following Horticulture article printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Managing Home Garden Pests

This year’s wet spring has created an environment favorable for weeds, and disease to develop. It will be important to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to have a productive garden. IPM includes using disease resistant varieties, crop rotation, sanitation, weed control, and careful frequent observation.

Planning ahead for your garden is important. By planning, you can determine what you want to grow and how much space is required. Spacing the plants so they are not crowded allows good air circulation, reducing disease development. Choosing vegetable varieties with resistance to several diseases will reduce disease risk. Rotating crops – planting a crop in a different area of the garden from the previous year – also reduces potential disease development. Sanitation too helps reduce the spread of disease or insect pests. Remove all diseased portions of plants and dying plants to eliminate sources of disease. Plants no longer producing should be removed and composted.

Weed control is also part of sanitation. Weeds compete for space and nutrients and can host insects and diseases. Mulch helps control weeds, prevents disease spores splashing up on foliage, and conserves moisture.

armyworm damage

Armyworms damage plants from the bottom up.

Careful observation – inspecting the plants for pests frequently – helps alert you to early problems. The sooner you find a pest, the easier it is to control. Weather conditions indicate when it might be necessary to apply preventive fungicide applications. Looking at the underside of leaves is a good way to spot insects that can be removed before they damage the crops.

armyworm

Garden pest: armyworm on saliva.

Using all of the IPM techniques help to improve the quality of the garden and produce.

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