Environment Magazine

3 Natural Ways to Control Garden Pests

By Gfl

No garden is free of diseases and pests. The list of possible culprits is endless – from beetles to caterpillars to deer to fungal infection.

Luckily, SA pest control experts share below some great ways you can fight back against these predators without spending a lot or risking your health. By switching to organic gardening, you can successfully get rid of any problems before they arise.

These organic gardening tips will help protect your flower and vegetable gardens from the most common problems.

1. Install Physical Barriers

Most plants are more susceptible to pests and diseases when they are young and tender. With a mechanical barrier to protect early growth, unwanted pests can be stopped from getting into your plants.

Row Covers

These are lightweight fabric sheets that cover your plants without smothering them. They let light pass through. Apart from protecting tender plants from light frosts, these sheets will also provide protection to crops from small insects and animals like birds, squirrels, caterpillars and rabbits. You can use them when plants are still young and remove them once the plant stems harden.


Installing a low fence can deter rabbits, dogs and other animals. Taller fencing may be required to prevent the entry of larger animals like deer, which can get costly. So consider surrounding these plants with individual fencing to minimize costs.


This is a lightweight mesh that is perfect for protecting tree fruits and berries from pesky animals.


This is a temporary cover shaped and sized to fit a certain plant. This is the best option when protecting a single plant or a row of plants. However, watch out for heat build-up during sunny days. Before they overheat your vegetables and flowers, make sure to vent or remove the cloches.

2. Observe Insect Control Measures

Not all flying and crawling animals are bad for your garden. For instance, apples, broccoli, and food crops may fail without bees. Some insects perform a service by eliminating harmful bugs. Spraying insecticides and pesticides may destroy both good and bad insects. So whenever possible, you must avoid using these chemicals.

Hand-pick Them If You See Them

Harmful caterpillars and larger insects can be hand-picked when the infestation is limited. This is an easy and effective approach to removing pesky pests in your garden. Insects target specific plants; as such, know what pests your host plant is prone to and whether they can cause significant damage to your garden.

Natural Insecticides and Pesticides

Most gardeners recommend using natural and homemade insecticides like garlic spray, salt spray and mineral oil. Using natural pesticides and insecticides will fight pests off without causing any harm to the plant and the household. But take note that you need to reapply these organic pest sprays frequently.

Waste Management

Destroy and remove all infested plants. Make sure not to add them to your compost pile. Fallen fruits, dead leaves and other debris that provide refuge to pesky animals should be removed as well to help alleviate this issue.

3. Control Weed Growth

Weeds are inevitable. But even if you cannot totally remove weeds from your garden, there are ways to keep them at a manageable level.

Use Mulch

Keeping weeds down, preventing evaporation of moisture, and cooling the soil are the main benefits of using mulch. Moreover, organic mulches will feed the soil as they decompose. Mulch application is the perfect organic gardening method that you must add to your to-do list.

Apply Safe Pre-Emergent Controls

Today, there are corn-based chemicals you can use to prevent annual weeds from infesting your garden. These products don’t affect established plants so make sure to distribute them before seeds have sprouted. Pest control experts emphasize that pre-emergent controls do not work on annual weeds and perennial weeds that are up and growing.

Control Weeds Early

Young weeds are easier to eliminate. Light weeding is better than waiting for the weeds to take over. By removing young weeds, they won’t develop seeds that can germinate in the future.

These are simple strategies you can use to create beautiful gardens. Being willing  to learn about the beneficial interactions between plants and other forms of life is important if these strategies are to be effective.

Do not aim for perfect plants in your garden. Creating a vibrant ecosystem outdoors will reward you with a garden that is abundant and full of different forms of life. Solve pest problems by implementing the different principles of natural ecosystems when creating a garden.

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