How to prevent & control common garden pests in Australia
31 Mar 23
Everyone loves to see their garden flourish with colourful blooms, birds and bees. But when garden pests move in and munch on the plants you’ve worked so hard to grow and nurture? Not so much.
That’s why preventing pests is the first (and best) step to controlling them. So with that in mind, here are 4 simple garden tips and tricks you can use to stop common garden pests from taking over. Best of all, they all involve natural pest control – so you don't have to worry about any chemicals in your garden.
1. Pick pest-resistant plants
If you’re in the planning or replanting phase, choosing pest-resistant plants can help avoid a lot of frustration and money later on. So hunt around your local nursery (or ask your local V.I.P. Lawns & Gardens franchisee!) for plants that repel common garden and lawn pests in Australia – like lilly pillies (just make sure you choose a psyllid-resistant variety) or even fly-resistant carrots.
As well as pest-resistant plants, it can be a good idea to plant varieties that confuse or repel pests in the first place. Catnip, rosemary, lavender, garlic, and marigold, for example, are wonderful at keeping flies, mozzies and other flying insects out of your garden.
2. Outsmart garden pests
Another great strategy to repel common garden pests is to use a mixed planting scheme. This is known as interplanting, and it basically involves planting a mix of different herbs, flowers and vegetables together to confuse pests and make it harder for them to find their favourite crop. While perfectionists might not love this approach, it will help stop your plants from being destroyed by garden and lawn pests.
3. Get to know common garden pests
So far, we’ve looked at ways to prevent garden pests from setting up shop. But what if you’re already dealing with a pest problem? In that case, it’s worth pinpointing the culprit so you can deal with them (and the damage!) directly.
Here are some common garden pests in Australia to look out for:
- Aphids: If your plant leaves are looking droopy, curled, yellow or brown, it could be a sign of aphids. You can easily remove them by hand, by spraying cold water onto the plant, using garlic spray or bringing in a few lady beetles to take care of business.
- Cabbage moth: Together with cabbage butterflies, the larvae that these pests lay can gobble up your brassicas (like cauliflower and broccoli) in no time – so look out for discolouration on your veggies or holes in your leaves. You can remove them by hand, by attracting insect-eating birds to your garden, by planting dill, fennel, basil or coriander nearby, or using an organic insecticide.
- Snails and slugs: If your plants are destroyed and the only thing left is a shiny silvery trail leading to them, snails and slugs could be the culprit. Keep them away by spraying a mix of one part espresso to ten parts water on the affected plants – or create a barrier with crushed eggshells, lime, sawdust, wood shavings or sawdust around your vulnerable plants.
- Whiteflies: These sap-sucking bugs love veggies and will lay eggs on the underside of leaves, turning them yellow and making them wilt and stunting their growth. Introducing ladybirds and lacewings, hosing the plant down for a few days in a row, planting marigolds, or trying a garlic or chilli wash are all natural ways to wave goodbye to whiteflies.
There are many more common lawn and garden pests that might be destroying your garden, so keep an eye out and look for natural ways to prevent or remove them.
4. Keep your plants healthy
Looking after your garden is possibly the best defence against pests. Because if your plants are healthy and strong, they have a better chance at managing pests all by themselves.
So check your plants often, keep them well watered (especially on hot, dry days) and fed with loads of quality organic compost, and they’re likely to reward you with a beautiful, pest-free garden to enjoy season after season.
Of course, taking care of your garden can sometimes feel like a full-time job! Give yourself a well-earned rest by hiring your local V.I.P. Lawns & Gardens franchisee to keep your lawn lush and plants happy.