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Do you have any insect pests in your yard?

By Brian O'Neill

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Since July first was Build a Scarecrow Day, this newsletter will focus on a method of pest protection called integrated pest management. This approach to controlling or eliminating pests is often seen as the "safest" and most eco-friendly method. Integrated pest management, often referred to as IPM, involves using natural predators to control pest populations.

One of the most common examples of an IPM method is that of ladybugs and aphids. Ladybugs naturally prey on aphids, so they actively seek aphids as food. Ladybugs can be purchased at most nurseries or garden stores in little boxes. Once you get home, open the box and gently spread the ladybugs around the areas with aphids. The ladybugs should disperse and eat the aphids in no time!

Another method of eco-friendly pest management that I am a fan of is simple soapy water. I mix 2-3 drops of dish soap into a 1 liter sprayer I have, I shake it up, and pressurize it, and I can spray as many plants as I need. Garden sprayers can be bought in just about any hardware store. If you don't want to purchase a garden sprayer, hand-held squirt bottles work great too! Just make sure you don't use as much soap (or you'll have a soapy bottle for quite a while), and turn the nozzle to the "stream" setting. Good luck, and happy gardening!

July's Plant - Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth' (Bush Anemone)

The cultivar 'Elizabeth" is a beautiful native evergreen shrub. It is a bit more compact compared to the common C. californica. "Elizabeth" blooms May thru July with sweetly scented, pure white, yellow-stamened flowers. It is very drought tolerant, but appearance is better with some summer water.

David

 

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