5 Garden pests and how to get rid of them

Every time you see a tiny insect crawling and webbing in your plant, it’s time for troubles. We are talking about one of the most infamous little creatures known to growers, the spider mite.

Yes! That’s right! This is a serious pest and when the webbing is already spread all over your plant; well, you are facing an advanced stage of infestation.        

Spider mites are very small to be seen, they can pass into your gardens without notice, and remember, no matter how few, each survives by sucking material from plant cells.

         

Large infestations cause visible damage such as:

  • Irregular patterns of tiny spots
  • Change in color
  • Eminent curl and fall off

The mites’ activity is visible in the tight webs that are formed under leaves and along stems.

Damage control:

  • Neem oil
  • Horticultural Oil
  • Dormant oil
  • Prune plant’s leaves

What are these pear-shaped little monsters that are all over my plant?

Aphids

Aphids are tiny (under ¼-inch), and often invisible to the naked eye. Various species can appear white, black, brown, gray, yellow, light green, and pink. They can be found clustered in the upper part of your plant’s steam and on the leaves. Hey! Don’t be alarmed, these little dudes are not that nasty, they will cause a problem for sure but rarely will kill your plant.

         

Damage Control:

  • Dust the plant with flour
  • Spry with cold water to dislodge them
  • Prune the leaves
  • Garlic Oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Horticultural Oil

There is a lot of black weird flies on my plant, what’s going on?

Fungus Gnats

Adults are delicate, grayish black, mosquito-like flies (1/8 inch long) with long legs and one pair of clear wings. They are not strong fliers and emerge from potted plants, especially when watering. However, when they are in a young larval stage, they don’t have time for love. These creatures are a very sophisticated eating machine that will eat everything in their paths.

         

Larvae or maggots (1/4 inch) have an intimidating shiny black head and an elongated, whitish to yellowish transparent body. They are most abundant in damp, rich soils and feed on root hairs, fungi, and other organic materials.

Control Damage:

  • You can use a combination of peppermint, cinnamon and sesame oils, is a non-toxic spray that will get rid of gnats and other insects that gather around windows.
  • Use biological weapons such as Nematodes to destroy the larvae stage. Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that penetrate fungus gnat larvae, as well as harmful lawn and garden grubs, fleas, and other soil-borne pests (they do not harm earthworms), then release a bacterium that consumes the pest from the inside out.
  • Allow the soil to dry

My plants have white spots, what the heck is that?

Mildew

Mildew is a surface fungi that can easily be identified as a patch of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. They can get access to your plant through ventilation systems, opened doors, or any other possible way. It can be everywhere but fortunately, this kind of pest can be controlled at any time.

         

Damage control:

Mildew is easily treated with a store bought cleaner and a scrubbing brush.

OMG, my roots are getting brown, is this the end?

No! You probably have a serious root disease called Pythium. You don’t want that in your plant, seriously!

Symptoms are browning and softening of the roots, dead feeder roots, and hard lesions on larger roots. Advanced infections can cause the plant to wilt or die, this is a root cancer. Pythium is known as the mold of water, and of course, this disease will thrive in a very wet environment.

Pythium loves hydroponic systems and if your roots are poorly oxygenated and also have been attacked by another pest like the sciarid fly, Pythium will rise like Zombies from hell.

        

Damage control:

  • Avoid contaminated waters, extraneous dirt in the system, bad dust, and any other external contaminant.
  • Provide good air circulation
  • Control your pH
  • Avoid excessive nitrogen rates
  • Mowing practices can help

If the problem persist, don’t panic! Use brutal force. Fungicides are a good way to fight back and many of them are used to control or manage Pythium. Some of them contain: mefenoxam, pyraclostrobin, cyazofamid, propamocarb, azoxystrobin, fluoxystrobin, Aluminum tris, as well as other chemistries labeled against Pythium diseases for home or commercial use.

“Pests are a problem, but there is always a solution”

It is important to understand that Plants have their own defense system and is very effective under favorable circumstances. However, when you are growing in both hydroponics and conventional systems, you are the one who is responsible to provide the right conditions so your plants can have a healthy development. 

Vitamins are one the best ways to increase your plants' immune system and also it helps to improve its capacity to resist harsh environments. For this reason, we developed a very powerful vitamin, we call it "B+" and we definitely encourage you to use it during your entire growing process. 

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