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How to keep the pests out of your garden

By Evelyn Lopez

Summer is right around the corner and with summer comes a chance at planting a garden. The most a gardener should have to worry about is the weather, but when the bugs, birds, and small rodents try to eat everything that was planted, it can be infuriating. Knowing your enemy and choosing the appropriate solution to defend your garden can help save it.

When dealing with birds who eat berries and more from your garden it seems most difficult to get rid of them. Since they have the air advantage, they are probably the most simple to defeat. Scarecrows, plastic owls, and fake snakes are a simple way to scare off birds but make sure to move them periodically as birds are smart enough to know that it is no threat if it doesn’t move often. Another simple solution would be windchimes and reflective items can also be another solution to ward off birds as sudden sounds startle birds and reflective items scare off birds due to their sudden movement.

When dealing with small animals like squirrels, rabbits, or voles, there are more sneak tricks to deter away from a garden. The first step could be adding a physical barrier to prevent any fuzzy fiends from getting in; a fence, chicken wire, and any kind of barrier will work. If you don’t want to spend a lot on a barrier you could plant more plants. There are some plants animals do not like and often avoid, but understand not all animals dislike the same plants so there will be some experimentation on what gets rid of the animals in the garden. Just like birds, small fuzzy animals can also be deterred by plastic owls and fake snakes. Using the image of natural predators is a good substitute for warding off many small mammals. If these don’t work on getting rid of them, try repellents. There are many formulas to try. If using a repellent, make sure to read directions carefully, stay upwind, and wear gloves. 

The biggest threat to any garden is the smallest. When dealing with bugs it is hard to get rid of them especially if the chance of getting rid of the good bugs is also as likely to happen. Aphids, beetles, worms, and more are out for a good meal from your garden. When battling against bugs, there are multiple solutions before going to repellents that may ward off the pollinators. Try some of these tricks. A trick so simple is just wake up early and shake some of the beetles off or pick worms off your plants. This is time-consuming and will have to be done often. Changing the type of mulch for your garden can also help with deterring bugs. An example would be using deep straw mulches to help ward off the Colorado potato beetle. Controlling your weeds is also helpful for getting rid of bugs. Cleaning out your garden is a helpful way to prevent bugs also. By getting rid of dying plants and dead leaves, you help reduce not only insects but fungi and disease. Just as cleaning your garden helps get rid of bugs, pinching off dead leaves is also helpful. In the same way as encouraging the help of natural predators or the image of one helps ward off birds and small mammals, encouraging the help of beneficial bugs in the garden such as ladybugs help keep the bugs at bay. Ladybugs not only eat aphids but they also eat the mites, the eggs, and larvae of many destructive insects. 

So here were some tips and tricks on how to protect your garden from the enemy at hand. Not all gardens are the same so do not be afraid to try out multiple solutions for your garden. Keep the garden, and protect your flowers, vegetables, and fruits over the spring and summer.

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