How to fight against plant pests

How to fight against plant pests

Growing plants is a pleasure for many, as well as a way to make their home or garden more beautiful. For others it may concern the garden, but in both cases the enemies may turn out to be the same: i plant pests.

Fighting plant parasites is a very important action for those who want a healthy garden or vegetable garden. It should be emphasized, however, that it is recommended not to resort to chemical pesticides, especially if the products of the earth will then be consumed at the table. Several natural remedies they can help eliminate unwelcome guests, while avoiding impacting the environment.

Plant parasites, what they are and possible damage

Plant parasites are insects and organisms that rob the plant of the nourishment it needs to develop. In some cases they are not limited to this, but damage leaves and stem so much as to threaten the very survival of crops or the garden.

Between parasites some plants include insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses and molluscs, such as snails or slugs, without forgetting mites and larvae. We must always pay close attention to the first signs of suffering from crops, intervening with the most effective and least impacting remedies.

Source: Image by Sirpa P from Pixabay

Which plants are at risk?

Planters, gardens, fat plants, but also trees like i lemons they can be victims of parasites. There are no plants that are potentially immune to any external threat. However, some are more threatened than others, especially the listed species and green areas.

Plant parasites, the most common

There are several parasites capable of threatening plants, both decorative ones and those destined for consumption. Some of these organisms and pests are more prevalent than others, here’s what they are. Starting with three species usually associated with the term “plant lice“And among the most widespread of all: mites, cochineal and aphids.

acari

The acari they are undoubtedly among the greatest threats to plants. Not really insects, but close in species to those who are spiders. They are able to adapt to different environmental conditions and are particularly difficult to identify as they are small and experts in mimesis.

Their danger is also given by the particularly high reproductive speed and by the fact that there are over 7000 species of fitofagi (which feed on plants). Among these are the spider mites, the common red or yellow spider mites.

Cochineal

Among the most dangerous pests is the cochineal, threat especially for succulent plants, olive trees, conifers and various indoor plants. Planters included therefore, whose hosts can fall prey to this parasite belonging to the phytomitic family.

The term phytomites identifies those species that feed on lymph they extract from the leaves and stems of plants. It is very important to control the plants in the case of cochineal: at home it may be sufficient to physically remove them to solve the problem, provided that you eliminate them all.

Plant pests, aphids
Source: Image by Catkin from Pixabay

Aphids

Unmissable in this list are other examples of the infamous plant lice, also known as plant fleas. The aphids they are particularly feared insects for their behavior and attack both garden plants and the vegetable garden. In addition to feeding, like cochineal, the sap of plants, they release a sugary substance known as honeydew.

By covering the leaves and stem of the plant with honeydew, they tend to suffocate it, inducing colonization by other insects and ants. Precisely the latter can be an important alarm bell: if they “frequent” the same plant too often, it is possible that aaphid infestation.

Tripidi

The list of phytomitic insects does not end here, but continues with i tripidi. Particularly widespread is the Frankliniella occidentalis, while the favorite prey of these insects are fruit trees and ornamental ones. They do not disdain to feed on the sap of the plants in the garden as well.

Per recognize thrips infestation it is necessary to look carefully at the plant: the presence of these phytomites causes spots on the leaves and deformations of the shoots and fruits.

Metcalfa

Metcalfa is native to the Americas and behaves exactly like aphids. This insect feeds on the lifeblood of plants and produces honeydew as a “waste”. As a result, there is a risk of further infestation by ants or other insects, attracted by the sugary substance.

Tentredini

Who wants to cultivate fruit trees, such as cherry, apple, apricot, pear, peach, lemons or plum trees will have to pay close attention to tentredini. These insects resemble small wasps and feed on leaves, flowers, buds and finally on fruits.

They can cause the leaf fall, but also of the fruits of the plants, threatening both the collected than the flowering of the fruit tree.

Larvae and caterpillars

Larvae e caterpillars moths pose a threat to fruit and garden trees. If butterflies are beautiful to look at and basically harmless, in the larval stage these organisms eat wood and leaves.

Mushrooms

Do not forget also some of the main parasites of fungal origin. We talk about powdery mildew, downy mildew and blistering of the peach tree. In the first case it is a disease, known as “white sickness”, which covers the plants with a powder of this color. The heat, humidity and poor ventilation favor it.

As for the peronospora, which develops mainly in spring and leads to the death of the plant’s tissues. It follows the fall of the affected areas, namely leaves, flowers and fruits.

Finally the fish bun. The fungus responsible for this infestation doesn’t just threaten peach production, it can spread to other fruit trees as well. Menacing, but easy to spot due to the reddish bulls it generates on the attacked side.

How to fight against plant pests

Who wants fight against plant pests it must first identify the type of organization responsible for the damage. In almost all cases it will be sufficient to observe the leaves or the stem to identify the organisms responsible for the damage to the garden or vegetable garden.

If you can’t see the cause of the problem, as it may be linked to viruses or bacteria, the advice is to carefully study the information available about the plant. Often the parasite or pest responsible for the damage is listed among the most frequent threats for that plant species, with relative indications on what are the “symptoms” associated with this organism.

Natural remedies against plant parasites

When fighting aphids with natural remedies it is recommended to rely on a mixed spray of water and Marseille soap, to be carefully sprayed on the foliage and stems of plants. Alternatively, you can also use theNeem oil or yet decoction of garlic (left to cool previously), the latter two also useful against bedbugs.

Against the cochineal are indicated Marseille soap and vinegar. Whether you choose the first or the second, it is necessary to dilute them in water and carefully rub the leaves and parts of the infested plants, in order to remove the insect.

With respect to the caterpillars it is recommended to act both by physically hindering the arrival of the caterpillars, by spreading eggshell pieces around the plant, using a water-based spray e black pepper. Against powdery mildew and red spider mites it will be useful to spray a decoction of garlic on the plant.

ladybug
Source: Photo di Ron van den Berg da Pixabay

How to protect plants from pests

Acting preventively can certainly be beneficial for trees, crops and flowers. How to protect plants from pests preventing them from being infested? In addition to the periodic application of some natural remedies, it is possible to resort to “sacrificial” plants.

Some particular plants can find space inside the vegetable garden and the garden, as in some cases of the flower boxes. These are specimens that they attract parasites more than others, avoiding that the species intended for garden decoration or consumption at the table are affected.

An action that is combined with the consequent attraction of birds and insects that are not pests, but which on the contrary feed on plant parasites. Some examples are the ladybug and the chrysopa or Chrysoperla rufilabris (insects also known as green-winged laces).

The species recommended for this mechanism defense against plant parasites I’m:

  • Radishes;
  • Nasturtiums;
  • Mustard;
  • Girasoli;
  • Nettles;

Source: GreenStyle by www.greenstyle.it.

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