Wilting leaves? Spotty fruit? Use organic garden pest control methods to stop pest and disease problems in their tracks! Early detection tips for a thriving oasis. Learn to identify threats & fight back naturally. Read on and conquer!

Now that the weather is heating up, this is about the time I start noticing problems in the gardens. I cannot stress enough how important it is to walk through your garden(s) every day. If you catch problems early enough, there’s a good chance you can fix it!

There are a multitude of pest and disease problems that can strike the garden. The following is what I found this week in my own and how I am addressing each using organic garden pest control methods.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

YouTube video

Discovering Pest and Disease Problems

Picture this: you step out into your garden, greeted by the cheerful chirp of birds and the sweet scent of blooming flowers. It’s a scene of tranquility, a testament to your hard work and dedication.

But beneath the surface, a silent threat might be brewing or already started. Pests and diseases lurk, waiting for the moment your vigilance wavers. That’s where the daily garden walk comes in – your secret weapon in the battle for a healthy, flourishing haven.

Think of it as a mini mindfulness practice for your plants. Just 10-15 minutes spent meandering through your green kingdom can make a world of difference. It’s not only relaxing to stroll and enjoy your gardens, but your keen eyes become a pest patrol, scanning for:

  • Unusual leaf damage: Holes, discoloration, or wilting can be telltale signs of munching insects or fungal infections.
  • Sticky secretions: Aphids and other sap-sucking pests leave behind a sugary trail that attracts ants and glistens in the sunlight.
  • Discolored patches: Mosaic viruses and bacterial diseases often present as splotchy marks on leaves and fruits.
dahlia 'urchin'
Dahlia ‘Urchin’

Organic Garden Pest Control: Early Detection is Key!

A small infestation caught in its tracks is easily dealt with, while a full-blown outbreak can decimate your precious greenery. But fear not, plant protectors! Here’s your pest-battling toolkit:

  • Natural predators: Introduce ladybugs, lacewings, or parasitic wasps to munch on the bad guys.
  • Homemade sprays: Neem oil, soapy water, and garlic solutions can effectively deter many pests.
  • Physical barriers: Row covers and netting can shield vulnerable plants.

Remember, harsh chemicals should be a last resort. They harm not only pests but also beneficial insects, pollinators, and the delicate ecosystem of your garden. Avoid using carcinogenic pesticides too – they are not necessary and not worth using.

sedum autumn joy zinnias gomphrena in the cottage garden with superbells

Of course, daily walks aren’t just about pest patrol. They’re an opportunity to:

  • Bond with your plants: Observe their growth, celebrate new blooms, and nurture a deeper connection with your leafy companions.
  • Spot potential problems: Wilt due to insufficient watering, nutrient deficiencies, or even misplaced sprinklers can all be identified and addressed early on.
  • Plan for the future: Notice gaps that need filling, areas that require more sun or shade, and inspiration for next season’s plantings.

So, lace up your boots, grab your cup of coffee (or trowel!), and make your daily garden walk a non-negotiable ritual. It’s a small investment that yields big rewards – a thriving, healthy haven that reflects the love and care you pour into it. Remember, a happy garden is a healthy garden, and a watchful gardener is a garden’s best friend.

cut flower patch: strawflowers in the potager garden
Strawflowers

Garden Pest Control: Common Garden Pest and Disease Problems

My daily garden walks have become routine, a moment of green tranquility amidst the hustle of life. You’ll often find me in my slippers and pajamas holding a cup of coffee doing it too.

But sometimes, even the most vigilant gardener finds their leafy haven under siege. Knowing your enemy is half the battle, so let’s delve into some common garden pest and disease problems you might encounter:

Pests:

  • Aphids: These tiny green, brown, or black sap-suckers congregate on stems and leaves, causing distortion and stunting. Look for sticky residue (honeydew) they secrete – a favorite ant snack!
  • Slugs and Snails: These slimy munchers leave glistening trails and chewed foliage in their wake. They favor damp areas and tender young plants.
  • Caterpillars: These voracious leaf-eaters come in various colors and sizes, often leaving behind telltale droppings. Watch for butterfly sightings, a clue to future caterpillar infestations. As an aside, leave them be.
  • Japanese Beetles: These metallic green beetles with copper wings devour leaves and flowers, leaving skeletons in their wake. They’re particularly fond of roses and grapes.

Diseases

  • Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease appears as a white powdery coating on leaves, stunting growth and reducing yield. It thrives in humid conditions but can also crop up at the end of the growing season too with cooler nights and hotter days.
  • Fungal Leaf Spot: Brown, black, or yellow spots with defined edges on leaves are telltale signs of fungal infections. They can defoliate plants and affect fruit production.
  • Blight: This term encompasses various fungal and bacterial diseases causing rapid wilting, discoloration, and even death of plant tissues. Be vigilant, as blights can spread quickly.
  • Viral Diseases: Mosaic viruses manifest as discolored patches on leaves, often with distorted or stunted growth. Unfortunately, viral diseases have no cure, so prevention and isolation are key.

But this is just a glimpse into the vast world of garden pests and diseases. There are lots of pest and disease problems out there so you’ll really need to drill down on what is happening in your garden before treating it.

The specific threats you encounter will depend on your location, climate, and the plants you grow. However, being observant, researching potential problems, and acting swiftly, you can keep your garden thriving and your harvest bountiful.

calendula in the cut flower garden with fountain in potager
Calendula is a great companion plant in the garden

Garden Pest Control: Natural Pest and Disease Solutions for a Thriving Garden

Before reaching for the chemical cavalry, let’s explore the wonders of natural and organic pest control. These methods keep those pesky invaders at bay while nurturing a healthy, resilient garden ecosystem that welcomes our beneficial insect and pollinator friends. Think of it as waging war with wisdom, not weapons!

Natural Predators

Unleash the good guys! Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are nature’s pest patrol, feasting on aphids, caterpillars, and other garden enemies. Attract these beneficial insects by planting flowering herbs like dill, cilantro, and alyssum, and avoid broad-spectrum insecticides that harm them as well as the pests.

dill and cilantro that went to seed for a pollinator friendly garden
Dill and cilantro in the potager garden

Homemade Sprays

Ditch the harsh chemicals and whip up your own potent pest deterrents. Garlic and chili pepper solutions, soapy water sprays, and neem oil mixtures can effectively repel a variety of insects without harming beneficials. Keep in mind that whatever you spray, it’s best to avoid doing it when pollinators and beneficial insects are most active. Remember, a little research goes a long way – choose the right concoction based on the specific pest you’re targeting.

Physical Barriers

Sometimes, a little defense goes a long way. Row covers and netting shield vulnerable seedlings and fruits from hungry mouths. Sticky traps lure and capture crawling pests like slugs and earwigs, while diatomaceous earth , a microscopic fossil dust, dehydrates and kills soft-bodied insects without harming birds or beneficial insects.

close up of calendula in the cut flower garden
Calendula flowers

Plant Power

Let your garden fight back naturally! Companion planting involves strategically placing certain plants near each other to deter pests and attract beneficial insects. Marigolds, for example, repel nematodes and other soil-borne pests, while nasturtiums lure aphids away from your precious veggies. It’s a win-win for a thriving, diverse garden ecosystem.

Remember, prevention is key! Keeping your garden clean and debris-free, practicing good sanitation, and watering wisely create an environment less hospitable to pests and diseases. By incorporating these natural and organic methods into your gardening routine, you can cultivate a healthy, vibrant haven that welcomes the good guys and keeps the bad guys at bay – all without harming the delicate balance of your garden’s ecosystem.

So, arm yourselves with knowledge, not chemicals, and watch your garden blossom into a thriving paradise teeming with life and bursting with the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor. Happy organic gardening!

borage flowers in the potager garden as a companion plant idea for the vegetable garden
Borage flowers in potager garden

Early Summer Garden Tour

To give you an idea of the problems you might find, I am bringing you on a tour of my own garden to share what I see and how I’m addressing each issue.

Garden Pest Control for Deer Damage

While walking the gardens, I noticed deer damage to some of my plants. They ate almost all of the buds off of my roses about two weeks ago. This was my own fault though because I did nothing to protect them.

After noticing the damage, I sprayed all of my roses with Deer Out 40oz Ready-To-Use Deer Repellent and that seems to have kept them at bay.

There are fresh buds on them now, so hopefully, I’ll have some nice rose blooms in the next week. They also started nibbling on my Sedum ‘Autumn Joy‘ plants near the road. Although I’ve been spraying them with deer repellent, I sprayed them again to give them extra insurance and they have since left them alone.

Living in deer country, it is difficult to expect them not to browse. But, it is possible to minimize the damage. To learn more, see my blog Deer-Proofing Your Garden.

Deer Out 40oz Ready-to-Use Deer Repellent
$17.95 ($0.45 / Ounce)

My favorite go-to deer repellent that smells minty, does not clog, and keeps the deer away from susceptible plants! A must-have if deer are a problem in your garden.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 03:13 pm GMT
knocke out rose
If you look closely, you can see where the deer bit the buds off.

Garden Pest Control for Groundhog Damage

If you saw my Instagram stories, you know how extensive the damage is to the containers on my deck. The groundhog visits my deck and snacks on my plants yearly, but typically does most of the damage in late August. This year, he struck in June which is early. I’d like to enjoy these plants for at least half of the summer before he decimates them!

Heading into the gardening season, I wanted to experiment with some repellents. After trying some out, I can’t recommend anything at this time. They don’t work at all for this purpose at all.

My decks have multiple entrances, so gating it off would not help. The only real solution I have is to trap and relocate it.

Although I’d love to move this guy along, I am not a fan of trapping and relocating animals. For the relocation to be effective, it needs to be dropped over 10 miles away or it will return to home.

On its face, sending it off sounds like a great idea BUT when doing that, we are taking the animal out of its habitat and dropping it off in the middle of somewhere, where it has no home protection and predators are likely to get to it.

The chances of survival are slim, so I don’t really want to go this route. We did it once several years ago and I felt terrible about it. For now, I’m going to live with it.

And for the time being, I’m going to use my dogs’ fur that is left over after brushing them and put them in my pots to see if that will help.

If you have any suggestions aside from killing, trapping, and relocating, please let me know because I’m all ears!

groundhog eating container garden plants

Garden Pest Control for Fall Webworm

While walking around this early summer garden tour, I noticed a web around a few branches on one of my Blueberry Bushes.

Upon closer inspection, it was a fall webworm. The nest was not there a few days ago so that’s how quickly problems can arise. Looking at it further, there were loads of tiny caterpillars inside laying eggs which is not good for any garden!

To remedy the situation, I grabbed my favorite pruners, to cut the infected branches off, place them in a garbage bag, and disposed of them.

Problem solved (for now) but I’ll need to keep an eye on the gardens.

fall webworm
Fall Webworm

Garden Pest Control for Powdery Mildew

While touring the front beds, I noticed powdery mildew on my Tall Phlox. This plant is susceptible to it, although it seems to have hit much earlier this season.

If the problem was minimal, I could use some neem oil on it. Next year, I will need to be a little more proactive about using it to control the problem sooner.

But after all the rain we had and the extent that it’s on these plants, I am inclined to pull them out before it infects the rest of the garden.

While taking these photos, I put my phone down and dug them out. It happens that fast around here! LOL!

This is my chance to replace them with something less fussy and I can try something different there to change up the border. It’s extra work, yes, but it’s also an opportunity!

More About Garden Pest Control and Finding Pest and Disease Problems

Do you walk your gardens every day to enjoy them and watch for issues early? What problems have you noticed in the garden and how are you addressing them? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

front porch cottage garden with rudbeckia, sunflowers and gomphrena

Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

Stacy Ling with her book the bricks n blooms guide to a beauitful and easy care flower garden

If you’ve always dreamed of bringing country charm to your home while creating a beautiful, relaxing space, I got you! Learn how to grow flowers in even the smallest of spaces with my easy-care, low-maintenance approach.

Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?

If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.

From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.

Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.

view of the front porch cottage garden with sugar pumpkins, sedum autumn joy, rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons

Sign Me Up!

Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.

Close up of sedum autumn joy, angelonia and petunias in the flower garden
Bricks 'n Blooms at the NJ home and garden show booth

Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 172

Hi there! I hope you had a great week! Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms What a week it was! It was all about the New Jersey Home and Garden Show this week. Not gonna lie, this was a lot to pull together but we pulled off an amazing booth and…
Read More Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 172
chinese evergreen and white amaryllis flower with a clock

Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 171

Hi there! I hope you had a great week! Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms Where do I even start about the week? My Garden Damage We had some snow earlier in the week and when our plowing service came (who is also our landscaper) they drove 15 feet through my…
Read More Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 171

Thanks for joining me in the gardens today!

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

Want to learn more about me?

I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden

If you like this post, please follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or join my Facebook Group.

Earl Summer Garden Tour of the Front Cottage Garden

As we move through summer, Coreopsis, Echincea, Bee Balm, and Butterfly Weed are starting to bloom.

These plants will attract more pollinators to the garden.

The front border is drawing in more and more bees by the day.

They are really fun to watch zip around from flower to flower.

Since deer are stopping by more frequently than in years past, I just sprayed the plants that are more susceptible to deer damage.

Hopefully, they will walk on by and find a new path.

cottage garden in summer
purple cone flower
Echinacea started blooming this week.
purple cone flower
moonbeam coreopsis
Moonbeam Coreopsis

Well Garden

The well garden is bursting with yellow and orange hues from the Daylillies, Butterfly Weed, Coreopsis, Petunias, and Marigolds right now.

I love how these colors pair with the dramatic foliage color of Smoketree.

While I’m walking around this bed, dragonflies are covering the Daylillies and the bees are in heaven with the Butterfly Weed blooms.

flower garden in summer
Zebra Grass, Smoketree, Moonbeam Coreopsis, Butterfly Weed, Petunias, Euphorbia, and Marigolds
early summer garden in bloom
I love how Smoketree’s foliage picks up the orange hues from the Daylillies and Coreopsis.
orange day lilies
Daylillies just started blooming!
close up of butterfly weed
The bees are in heaven on the Butterfly Weed.

Mailbox Garden

The Mailbox Garden is doing really well. Jackmanii Clematis is in full bloom and climbing the mailbox beautifully.

Someone drove over the front corner of my garden and took out a small portion of the Daylillies.

Since the garden is so close to the driveway…it happens.

clematis jackmanii
Jackmanii Clematis and Sedum Autumn Joy
mailbox garden in bloom
mailbox garden in bloom
I really love these Petunias combined with the Marigolds and Clematis. They were a great annual choice this year.

Early Summer Garden Tour in the Backyard Gardens

The backyard gardens are doing really well.

I was able to do some weeding over the last week – not as much as I would like – but got a few of the beds cleaned up.

We are really enjoying the deck and fire pit areas and use both all the time!

flower garden border in backyard garden
Bodie is chilling in the backyard borders while I get some weeding done.

The Vegetable Garden

Backyard Border

hosta plant
Variegated Hostas in the back border.
hosta plants in shade garden
The Hosta garden in the back border.
bee balm (monarda)
Bee Balm is just starting to bloom.
boho hammock in backyard
Just a hammock. Who’s ready for a nap?

Deck Gardens

This is one of my favorite places to hang out.

Now that the containers are filling in, it feels really lush and tranquil. We eat dinner out here every night.

It is a great place to regroup with family and friends.

For source information and to learn more about how I decorated this area, see my blog Decorating the Deck for Summer.

caladiums, licorice plant and bacopa in container garden
tropical hibiscus flowers
Hibiscus

Fire Pit Gardens

We use the fire pit a few times a week.

It’s nice to sit outside in a different area of the property and appreciate the beauty around us.

To learn more about this outdoor living area, see my blog Outdoor Fire Pit.

backyard garden with shed
View of the shed and vegetable garden from the fire pit.
backyard garden at night
View of the deck and play area from the fire pit.
firepit
The fire pit in action! We love the glow from surrounding tiki torches.
Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden tour and appreciate you joining me. If you missed a few tours or want to see how the garden has progressed, you can see them here:

close up of red flowers with American flag in the background
When I came home from a run, this gorgeous Hibiscus and American Flag caught my eye. I love the combination

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Comments