Environmental-friendly plant control of insects | News | paducahsun.com

2022-05-22 01:37:06 By : Ms. Yanqin Zeng

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Thunderstorms this evening, then cloudy with rain likely overnight. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. Low 59F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%..

Thunderstorms this evening, then cloudy with rain likely overnight. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. Low 59F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

For decades we have been told to use chemicals to control insects that damage our crops and landscape plants. Due to the overuse, many are no longer effective as well as environmentally harmful and to us. The answer is to enlist plants to protect edibles and ornamentals. The good news is that companion plants add beauty and often fragrance, attract pollinators while protecting, repelling and eliminating harmful insects.

They are not exotics but plants the average gardeners already grows.

Mums are the best at deterring ants, harlequin bugs, Japanese beetles, lice, roaches, spider mites, ticks, etc. Marigolds eliminate cabbage worm, mosquitoes and nematodes while attracting aphid killing beneficials and pollinators. Strongly scented French marigold attracts slugs that are easily picked off the blooms, and it deters deer and rabbits if forage is scarce.

Petunias repel aphids, asparagus beetles, and leafhoppers. Dill repels aphids and spider mites and squash bugs, and attracts hoverflies, predatory wasps. but plant away from tomatoes as it attracts tomato hornworms. Plant nasturtiums to protect tomato and cucumber from aphid, whitefly, squash beetle and cucumber beetle. Dill, nasturtiums and petunias attract tomato hornworm for easy removal.

All of the above kill spider mites but not beneficial spiders.

Bee balm and borage attract bees and wasps, the latter also repels tomato hornworm and cucumber worm.

Ants are attracted from other plants by sunflowers that are not bothered by the ants.

Plant companions 12-18” from roses as they have shallow roots and select those with identical growing requirements.

Basil, lavender and mint repel mosquitoes. Do not plant different mint varieties in close approximation as they will cross breed neutralizing their fragrance. Plant mint in containers as it spreads rapidly.

Replenish hummingbird feeders every three days and rinse all parts in household vinegar. Stop ant invasion by applying petroleum jelly to the hanger and coat the feeding tubes to deter wasps. A water cup attached to the feeder also defers insects.

Garden — Deadhead wilted iris. Cut the stem to the ground after blooming ceases taking care not to cut the foliage. Cut fall aster back to force bushy growth. According to Witherspoon Rose, if roses are cut often, they will re-bloom, and to set your irrigation system to provide each rose 5 gallons a week. This is a fertile weekend for planting according to the moon sign.

Insects — Protect cabbage family plants from the cabbage white butterfly by companion-planting nasturtiums. Destroy the young, light green fuzzy caterpillar by spraying with a mild solution of water, vinegar and a couple drop of Dawn dish detergent. Cover crops with insect netting or tulle. Add 1tablespoon Dawn and 1teaspoon cooking oil to a spray bottle to control aphids, caterpillars and red spider mites. Dislodge spittle bug by using the nozzle set on jet.

Trees and Shrubs — Prune fothergilla flowers before they go to seed. Ninebark may be pruned any time after blooming but before mid-August.

Weed control — 20% vinegar is an environment-friendly control that is very effective. Caution should be taken when using it. Fill the sprayer outside or in a well-ventilated location. When diluting 45% strength, always add the vinegar to water, and wear rubber gloves and eye protection.

Today — “Mama Liked the Roses-Remembering Elvis Movies” Bowling Green Rose Society Rose Show, 1-4 p.m., American Legion Building, 208 Dishman Lane, Bowling Green.

June 1 — Lunch Break Gardening Series “Iris” by Denny Dreyer, Marshall Co. Extension Office, 12:15-12:45pm. 1933 Mayfield Hwy, Benton, 270-527-3285.

June 7 — “Flower Show Prep”(for McCracken Co. Fair Flower Show) — Master Gardener Toolbox — McCracken Co. Extension Office, 2025 New Holt Rd., Paducah, 270-554-9520.

June 21-25, McCracken Co. Fair Flower Show “WOOF,” Floral Hall, Carson Park, Paducah. Design entry registration deadline is June 13. For more information 270-554-9520.

Contact Carolyn Roof, the Sun’s gardening columnist at, carolynroof02@gmail.com

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