Home & Garden

Work in Concert with Nature to Manage Garden Pests and Mosquitoes in the Landscape

Credits: Melinda Myers, LLC

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - A garden filled with flowers, birds, bees and butterflies is a sight to behold. These winged beauties add color, sound and motion to our gardens. Plus, they help maximize a garden’s productivity by pollinating plants and managing plant-damaging pests.

But what about those unwanted visitors to the garden? The aphids, mites and cabbage worms that feed upon our plants or the mosquitoes that feed upon us.  There are ways to have a beautiful garden and at the same time enjoy the outdoors when we work with nature to manage our landscape.

Add a birdbath, a few birdhouses and plants for the birds. They’ll repay you by eating many of the insects that feed upon your plants. Include seed-bearing plants like coneflowers, Rudbeckias and cosmos as well as berry plants like Juneberry, dogwood and firethorn. Add an evergreen and a few trees for shelter and nesting, if space allows.

Sign Up for E-News

Include a hummingbird feeder and a few of their favorite flowers like columbine, salvia, penstemon, and phlox.  Then watch as these fast flyers feed upon aphids, mites and mosquitoes in between sips of nectar.

While watching the birds, bees and butterflies, examine your plants for garden pests. Catching insects early may mean the difference between a successful harvest and disappointment. Before reaching for the pesticides and destroying their food source, attract the good guys and manage unwanted pests with a few of these eco-friendly strategies.

Tolerate a bit of damage and wait for the birds, lady beetles, praying mantis and other beneficial insects to move in and eat the bad bugs in the garden. Use barriers like row covers to keep cabbage worms off your cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. Sink shallow containers filled with beer into the soil around hostas and some of the other favorite plants of slugs and snails. These pests are attracted to the fermenting yeast, crawl inside and die.

If the bad guys persist, step up your eco-friendly control. Knock small populations of aphids and mites off plants with a strong blast of water. Apply insecticidal soap or Summit Year-Round Spray Oil if nature needs a helping hand. These organic insecticides are effective at managing pests, while gentle on the good guys when used properly.  

Keep mosquito populations to a minimum. Drain water from toys, buckets or any object that can hold water and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Change the water in birdbaths several times a week. Toss a Mosquito Dunk (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. This organic insecticide only kills the larvae of mosquitoes, black flies and fungus gnats. It won’t harm bees, butterflies, birds, pets and people.

Evaluate your success and make needed adjustments. Write a note in next year’s calendar to watch for the return of these pests. You’ll be ready to step in and lend nature a hand if needed.

As you begin to work in harmony with nature you will find more birds, bees and butterflies visiting your garden. Together you can grow a beautiful and productive garden for all to enjoy.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Summit for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Fair Lawn/Glen Rock

Maryann Collura Scholarship Fund Event April 21

March 24, 2018

“MAC 136”

Fair Lawn Police & PBA 67, along with AAA will be hosting a Car Show, “Touch a Truck” & Bicycle Rodeo event for the “MAC 136” Mary Ann Collura Scholarship Foundation!

When:  April 21st, 2018   

Time:  11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location:  Memorial Park, located at Berdan Ave. & First St. Fair Lawn ...

With the Help of Friends, CUMAC Gets a New Truck

For CUMAC, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New Jersey, feeding thousands of hungry clients every month means that food must be picked up on a daily basis. CUMAC has a driving team that makes it possible, but with an aging fleet of vehicles, the staff made acquiring a replacement truck a top priority in 2018. Thanks to a generous grant from the Order of St. John ...

Congressional Art Competition Opens Entry Period for Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced his office is now accepting submissions for the 2018 Congressional Art Competition, which recognizes and encourages the talents of America's youth.

Students who attend high school in the Fifth District can submit their artwork by filling out the submission survey and sending their signed student release ...

Glen Rock High School Announces its Students of the Month for February 2018

Art: ­ Laura Yuan

Business Education:  Drew Famularo

Theatre:  Caroline Torpey

English:  Margaret Hilzen

Health:  Rachel Goldberg

Instrumental Music:  Dylan Needleman

Mathematics: Erin Howe

Physical Education:  Daniel Mendelsohn

Science: Ellen Feuss

Sculpture: James Harte

Social Studies: Laura Yuan

Technology Art: Lauren ...

Fair Lawn Arts Council to Reprise Successful “Open Mic of Poetry”

Fair Lawn, NJ—The Fair Lawn Arts Council is offering an afternoon of poetry readings on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at the Maurice M. Pine Public Library, 10-01 Fair Lawn Avenue, from 1-3 p.m. 

As in previous years’ successful poetry events,  the Fair Lawn Arts Council invites all age groups to read original or published poetry, but interested poets who wish to participate in ...

Fair Lawn Police Blotter - March 23, 2018

March 24, 2018

March 12

2:45 pm - Driving While Intoxicated:  P.O. Stephen Buskiewicz & Sgt. Peter Yuskaitis responded to Broadway at 30th Street on a motor vehicle crash and arrested Richard Karcz, age 42 of Elmwood Park, after he was unable to complete roadside sobriety tests. Prescription medication, of which he did not have a prescription, was found in his pocket. He was charged with possession ...

2018 County Budget Introduced With No Tax Increase

March 17, 2018

Hackensack, NJ – The 2018 Bergen County budget proposal includes no tax increase, good news for Fair Lawn and Glen Rock, both of which may see hefty hikes in school taxes.

Fair Lawn's 2018 municipal budget had a zero percent increase and Glen Rock is scheduled to introduce its 2018 municipal budget in two weeks.

Property tax bills are in three parts, ...