Gardening: Expert shares tips for weed control
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Garden pests are a nuisance for any gardener and with so many more people taking up the horticultural activity over the last year and a half, searches for natural remedies and solutions have increased as well the number of pesky busy themselves. The Greenhouse People have an ingenious and affordable way to rid plants and vegetables of aphids and mites.
Aphids are small sap-sucking insects and they are a member of the superfamily Aphidoidea.
Common names for an aphid are greenfly and blackfly and look similar to fruit flies.
Most plans are susceptible to attracting aphids and one of the reasons for wanting to get rid of these insects is because some of them can transmit plant viruses.
They can also cause poor and distorted growth, leave a sticky honeydew and sooty mould.
The bugs are most active spring to late summer on garden plants and active all year round on indoor plants.
As for mites, they are hard to see with the naked eye, but their presence can be monitored by sticky cards or even just shaking the plant over a white piece of paper.
Signs of mites is curling yellow leaves, tiny webs or just sickly plants and they can be found on landscape, ornamental or houseplants.
So how can you get rid of aphids or mites?
The Greenhouse People suggests a white oil solution spray.
Vegetable oil based sprays are classed as surfactants – an effect treatment for soft-bodied pests.
The solution effectively smothers pests with the oil, making them unable to breathe through their bodies, instead of using chemical action.
This way, these pests can’t develop resistance to the solution, also preventing any further eggs from maturing and hatching
The standard ratio to make ‘white oil’ is 250ml of vegetable or white mineral oil to 60ml dish soap (importantly making sure it is free from bleach).
The Greenhouse People suggest mixing the solution well in a jar before transferring into a spray bottle.
Before coating the plant to rid the bugs, it is best to test the mixture.
Pick a few leaves and mist them before spraying every plant that is affected.
When spraying the white oil solution, coat the tops and bottoms of the leaves, stem and branches to ensure the whole plant and any bugs are covered.
It’s important to note that this mixture only works when the plant is wet – so any indoor plants, be sure to water or spray with a shower hose before covering in the white oil solution.
Finally, when spraying the white oil solution, do so in the early hours of the morning or late evening when there is no sun, otherwise the plants could burn.
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