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3 Backyard Plant Pests to Know and Prepare for This Spring

Ah, gardening. There are few things more calming in a busy day to day than a free afternoon spent gardening. It’s a chance to bring some vibrancy to our homes both indoors and outdoors with decorative plants, as well as bulking up our veggie, fruit, and herb supply with some home-grown goodies. But along with warmer weather and backyard plants inevitably comes pests. They love your gardening, too! Ranging from inconveniencing to debilitating, pests can sour the enjoyment we get out of our home gardening – which is why Evergreen Growers has some tips on how to deal with your particular pests this spring and summer. Read on to learn more.

The known culprits

Aphids are small triangular bugs with antlers, and once there’s one there’s hundreds more. With thousands of known aphid species, they come in many different colours including white, brown, black, yellow, green, and even pink. Aphids suck sap from plants, and secrete a sugary substance called honeydew.

To get rid of them, crush them by hand, or prune the aphid infected parts of the plant. To prevent them, spray your plants with garlic spray or tomato leaf. 

Azalea lace bug – you may love your azaleas and rhododendrons, but not as much as these bugs do. If you have a few around your azaleas, it doesn’t take long until your plants are completely overrun. While the damage is mostly cosmetic, we understand the time you’ve taken in caring for your plant, and how discouraging it can be to have a priced plant ruined by pests. They damage your plants by sucking sap from them, causing the leaves to turn brown or silvery from the loss of nutrients.

How they look: For all their nuisance, they are beautiful bugs up close. Their flat, patterned, colourful wings nearly resemble cathedral glass! In your garden keep a lookout for 4-6mm bugs of a tan and black colour residing on the underside of our azalea or rhododendron leaves. 

Mealybugs – upon first inspection they can easily be mistaken for a bit of mould on your plant, but don’t be fooled. They are tiny, soft insects covered in a white or grey furry-looking wax. If your plants are yellowing for no reason, you may have a mealybug infestation on your hands. They suck the juices out of your plants, leaving them weak and vulnerable to wilting. Because they populate rapidly, it’s important to deal with them as soon as possible!

How? Dab the mealybugs you see with a q-tip soaked in alcohol.

Give your plants some tough love by avoiding overwatering them for a while. This will help prevent your plants from attracting more mealybugs to their fresh leaves.

Wash your plants in 100% natural, non-toxic neem oil to discourage infestations in the future.

Want tips on handling the pests plaguing your plants? Don’t hesitate to stop by Evergreen Growers for some tips specific for your needs!

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