Protect Plants From Insects & Stress

You must protect plants from stress

if you wish to keep insects and diseases under control. However, before I explain how to protect plants from stress in order to repel garden insects, it would be wise to understand . . .

Why Pests Invade Our Plants

Pests and diseases attack weakened plant. Let’s compare it to wild animals such as lions or wolves. Either animal when hunting for food will surround a herd and seek out the weakest animals in that herd; that is, they seek the prey which they think they can easily overpower .

In the same way, insects are attracted to the weaker, stressed plants. A plant that has been weakened by transplant shock, improper hardening off, poor nutrition becomes an easy target. The plant’s color changes and some bugs pick up on that.

When plants are sick, a) they become physically less sturdy, b) the stems lose the stiffness associated with adequate water retention, c) the outer surface composition changes, and d) wilting softens the plant tissues, making them easier for bugs to chew or suck thus creating holes in the plant.

The essential oils which are in the plant tissues will evaporate in minuscule amounts into the atmosphere through these holes, and at this point we are unable to protect plants from the insects who can be attracted by only a few molecules of their favorite meal. For example, aphids will walk right by healthy, vigorous plants to attack stressed ones.

What Stresses Plants?

The biggest plant stressers include
- extreme fluctuations in soil or air temperatures
- too little or too much water
- interruptions in the supply of any nutrient
- compacted soil
- improper soil PH.

To protect plants from stress and insects

must be top priority if you wish to harvest healthy, nutrient filled vegetables. That means keeping the plants healthy by doing the following:

1. Protect plants by Fertilizing Wisely

Use organic based fertilizers such as compost or manure to make sure your soil is filled with nutrients that will help keep your garden plants healthy. Plants must be able to easily absorb their nutrients from the soil; if not, they will become stressed, will become weak, and will attract insects.

Often monitor plants for any signs of nutrient deficiency and correct problems quickly with fast acting liquid fertilizer or foliar sprays such as homemade fruit tree spray or sea kelp liquid or other organic based liquid fertilizer.

2. Protect Plants By Making Sure The Soil Has The Plant’s Preferred PH

The acidity or alkalinity of the soil (PH level) is an important factor. Most vegetables and flowers thrive in soil with a PH between 6.0 and 7.0. A PH level of 7 represents neutrality when the soil is neither acid nor alkaline. However, some plants prefer acidic or alkaline soil; therefore, know what your plant’s favorite PH is and make sure your soil has the correct PH level by testing your soil before planting. Then identify the soil problem solution and change the PH if needed or buy a different plant .

3. A great Way to Protect Plants Is To Practise Companion Planting

Particular pests prefer to feed on particular plants or groups of plants, and at the same time pests have very specific dislikes. So doesn’t it make sense to identify plants the pests don’t like and to use companion planting specifically to create an environment that repels or confuses the insects?

Here are some specific examples:

Onions, garlic, and other members of the onion family are universally despised by pesky bugs. I have often planted a ring of onions around the perimeter of my garden, and it works.

Garlic offends Japanese beetles, vegetable weevils, and spider mites.

Celery deters the white moth whose larvae become green caterpillars that eat cabbage, broccoli, and other cabbage family crops.

By planting beans and potatoes fairly close to each other, the beans repel the Colorado potato beetles, and the potatoes repel Mexican bean beetles.

4. Protect Plants In Your Garden by Planting Herb and Flower Deterrents

The idea is to plant herbs with a stronger scent so that you can disguise or hide the crops’ attractive scent and thus confuse the pests.

For example:
Onions, chives and garlic can block ants, aphids, and flea beetles

Marigolds are useful against aphids, Colorado potato beetles, and whiteflies

Rosemary deters carrot flies and cabbage moths

Hyssop, wormwood, thyme, and sage all repel the cabbage moth

Rue and white-flowered geraniums are offensive to Japanese beetles

Sage repels both carrot flies and cabbage moths.

Nasturtium is not tolerated by squash bugs nor white flies

French marigolds planted among tomatoes destroy nematodes. They also repel white flies, tomato hornworms, bean beetles, cucumber beetles, and asparagus beetles

IMPORTANT: Such herbs as mint and horseradish can quickly spread all over your garden. It is best to plant these in large clay pots and place these in the appropriate beds of vegetable plants. Double check the instructions before planting a herb in your garden.

If you use even one of these ideas to protect plants in your garden from stress and insects,, you will definitely see positive results.

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One Response to “Protect Plants From Insects & Stress

  • 1
    Mary Ann
    March 18th, 2011 22:32

    Love your sight and helpful info. My worst enemy in the garden is the “grasshopper”. Later in the summer, they can devastate my garden. Any suggestions?
    March 26/2011

    Hi Mary Ann
    I’m so glad you like my information. Thank you.

    I think I have found a recipe to help you get rid of grasshoppers.
    I myself have never had to deal with grasshoppers eating my garden produce. I only now realize that there are many varieties of grasshoppers; some of them are actually very colorful. The ones I’ve seen are brown; however, there are green and multicolored ones which can have longer wings than the picture I will be using. Which type do you have in your garden?

    In the next few days I will create a post called “How To Get Rid of Grasshoppers” or something similar. I hope the information in this article will help you get rid of your grasshopper problem.

    I would appreciate it if you would come back in the fall and write a comment on this post on “How to Get Rid Of Grasshoppers” to let us know if this recipe worked for you.

    Good luck!

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