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Keep Your Plants Pest Free

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Planning! Planning is one of the most important aspects of the gardening process. Gardeners plan to plant their gardens in locations that are best suited for the plants they intend to grow; it is essential to growing a healthy surplus of edible food. However, even with the best laid plans, pests and disease can find their way into the garden, destroying all your hard work before you know it. The best prevention is early detection. If you are growing a garden, you should spend no less than a half an hour a day looking over each of the plants to determine if pests have infested, or diseases have appeared. As you are watering the plants and tending to the garden, inspect the plants for discolored leaves, holes in the leaves themselves, or plants that look as if they died overnight.

Should you find a problem in the garden, there’s a better than average chance it occurred as a direct result of environmental conditions, diseases, pests, or a combination of these factors. If the environmental conditions are not conducive to growing a garden, then the plants in it may experience stress, which will have an adverse effect on the growth of the plant. Pests, such as snails, aphids, and slugs are common garden insects that can ravage a garden in very little time. Diseases are the most difficult problem to deal with in a garden, even if caught early on in the growing season. If a disease strikes the garden, then there may not be any recourse than to start over, depending on what the disease is, and how far it has progressed. Normally, by the time a disease presents itself, it is too late to rectify or eradicate from the garden.

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Environmental Conditions:
When plants become dry from lack of watering, the older leaves will change color from green to yellow to brown as they die off. If you see a white or brown mold appearing along the stem, then the garden is oversaturated and receiving too much water; you may be able to correct this situation by letting the garden dry out for several days before adding any more water.

Additionally, a lack of nutrient rich soil will have a negative impact on the production of the plants in the garden. Planting a garden in an area that people and pets visit frequently, may also have a negative impact on the health and life of the garden and the plants it contains.

Pests & Insects:
Aphids are quite common in gardens. They are very tiny, but they are generally easy to spot because they travel in large groups. Aphids appear green, white, or black and will cover small sections of the leaves. Snails, slugs, and caterpillars are also very common in gardens. They tend to consume large sections of various leaves on the plant, or they remove the entire leaf, leaving a bald spot where it was once attached.

Diseases:
Plant diseases are very difficult to deal with, normally because they are difficult to identify before presenting themselves. Plant diseases can be viral, fungal, or bacterial, the most commonly occurring of which are leaf spot and botrytis.

Fungal diseases will cause the texture of the plant to feel slightly squishy. Bacterial diseases normally present themselves as black or brown spots, which is a direct result of the cell death taking place near the place of infection.

Viral infections present themselves as discolored veins. Viruses come from within the plant itself, so the disease is being carried through the circulatory system of the plant.

While there are several commercial fungicides available for fungal related infections, for the most part, removal and disposal of the entire plant(s) is recommended. Never, under any circumstances, place a diseased plant in the compost pile. Most diseases flourish in warmer climates and a compost pile is definitely a warmer climate.



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