George, Greenhouses, How To, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Slugs & Snails, Spiders

Greenhouse Pest Control

Greenhouses are wonderful tools for keen gardeners, offering a much needed space to tend to gardening projects outside of the usual summer season. But while protecting your plants from the elements, greenhouses can also be prone to sheltering pests and diseases that will ruin all your hard work. Armed with our top greenhouse pest control tips, you should be well equipped to give your plants the best protection possible.

1. Keep your greenhouse clean

As with any form of disease or pest prevention, cleanliness is the number one priority. As part of your general upkeep, it’s worth thoroughly emptying and cleaning out your greenhouse once a year. This involves washing down the windows and surfaces, hosing off the floors and cleansing all the pots. Doing this should give you a fresh, pest-free start for growing each year.

2. Inspect your plants

It’s vital to check over all your plants before they enter the greenhouse in order to prevent pests spreading inside. Just as flowers and crops love the warmth of a greenhouse so too do bugs, and they multiply in the heat. So give any new plants a thorough inspection for signs of insects or larvae on the leaves or stem before bringing them inside.

3. Disinfect your tools

Most gardeners will regularly use the same tools all round the garden, transporting them around the shed, flowerbeds, lawn, vegetable patch, compost heap and greenhouse. This means they can pick up pests from the soil outside and infest the plants inside the greenhouse. So to be extra careful, it’s worth giving your spades, trowels and other tools a good clean every now and again – a soak in soapy water should do fine.

4. Use insect catchers

Chances are, insects will always find a way into your greenhouse. Catch them where they fly, with simple greenhouse pest control products, like hanging fly papers and wasp traps, or using spider spray at the door.

5. Use netting

Obviously, greenhouses need good ventilation and it’s never worth sealing them up completely to stop incoming pests. But you can easily cut down on the number of large flying insects entering by hanging netting across open windows or other vent points.

6. Move pots outside in the heat

In the summer months, greenhouses can often become hot and dry throughout the daytime. Moving potted plants outdoors not only helps cool them down but also reduces the build up of spider mites on the plants. Spider mites increase rapidly in number in dry heat so it’s worth keeping the greenhouse ventilated and also using a mister to keep the humidity up. If you’re going out for the day a good trick is to dowse the floor with water, which will evaporate into the air throughout the rest of the day.

7. Use potting soil

Often regular soil from the garden will be packed full of creepy crawlies, insect eggs and other pests. So for the container plants in the greenhouse, it’s a good idea to pot them in shop-bought potting soil or compost. This should be sterilised free from any pests or diseases and well as being rich in nutrients to help the plants grow.

8. Rotate crops

If you plant directly into the ground inside your greenhouse, clearly you won’t have as much control over the spread of potential pests within that soil. A method of combatting this is crop rotation – each year vary what type of plant you are growing in that piece of ground. This tends to prevent the buildup of pests in the soil, as similar plants usually encourage the same types of pest.

9. Freeze the pests

This is an extreme measure that you could perform once a year if you believe your greenhouse is truly infested. During the winter, allow your greenhouse to enter a chilling period by opening up all the doors and windows for a day or two. The temperature will drop right down, killing off any pests inside, including their eggs and larvae. As long as it’s not cold for too long, the plants should survive this. Obviously, any tropical plants or those that require constant warmth should not be left out for this.

10. Use biological pest control

Many common greenhouse pests, such as vine weevil grubs, whitefly and spider mites can be fought with biological control. Each pest has a corresponding organism that you can introduce to the infested area and it will feed on the pest, keeping its population under control. If the pest is eliminated then the control dies out too due to lack of food source, so you don’t need to worry about them destroying the plants instead. Some of these biological controls are available to purchase.

Hopefully by putting these tips into practice, your greenhouse will remain pest-free and your plants will thrive. Let us know how you get on or if you have any greenhouse pest control advice of your own!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Decoration, Garden Design, Garden Edging, George, How To

How to Keep Lawn Edges Neat

While many people like a natural, untamed garden, others prefer precise and ordered design. Stately homes and modern show gardens usually have highly manicured and maintained flowerbeds, trees and lawns. Something many gardeners – both professional and home enthusiasts – struggle with is how to keep lawn edges neat and tidy. Turf never seems to stay in a straight line, grass always grows over into the flowerbed and plants spread back onto the lawn. But there are a few easy methods for reigning those lawn borders back in.

Manually cutting neat edges

To create a firm, precise boundary for your lawn you can dig out the edges. This is at most an annual job, which will then only require maintaining when you cut the grass. Using a half moon bladed spade, dig out a sharp border round the flower beds. Mark the edge you want to create with a plank of wood for a straight line or string for a curve.
Once the edge is formed, dig out a slight trench on the flowerbed side, pushing the excess soil back onto the bed. This will allow water drainage and keep plant growth back from the border.
Finally, mow the rest of the lawn as normal and trim the grass sticking out over the new edge with shears to get it all straight.

How to maintain a sharp edge

Whether you’ve dug out a new border or are tending to an existing one, it is relatively simple to keep up tidy turf edging. Every time you mow the lawn, make sure to trim the edges too. Use long handled edging shears or an electric trimmer for the easiest ways to cut the border grass without even having to bend down. Otherwise, a simple pair of shears will suffice.
For grass that has grown over paths and paving stones, use a sharp knife to dig out the offending chunks of turf and trim overhanging grass with small shears.

Try permanent lawn edging

If you don’t want the hassle of having to dig out trenches and restructure the boundaries of your lawn each year, then installing garden edging may be the best option. Lawn edging is available in metal, wooden and plastic varieties which all give a different feel to your garden. These rolls of edging are fixed to the turf border and will prevent it shifting over time or grass and weeds growing across the boundary. Some are placed inground and soon become virtually invisible, other sit above ground and have more decorative designs, like woven hurdles or bamboo rolls. They are a great way to complement the style of your garden, while enforcing the neat lawn edges.

Check out our guide to installing lawn edging.

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Gardening, Geoff, How To

As I’m sure you are all aware, over the years gardening has become swamped with folklore and superstition. From adding banana peels to your soil for extra potassium, to sprinkling coffee grounds around shrubs – both of which cause nitrogen deficiencies in the soil – we all have gardening tips which we swear by. Well it is time we shed a little light on some of these garden myths and debunk them once and for all.

 

1. Lighten clay by adding clay soil garden myths
sand

Clay soil can be seen as a gardener’s nightmare. It turns rock-hard when it dries and drains badly making it a pain to cultivate. Yet this almost stodgy consistency makes it great for holding nutrients and can prove very
beneficial for some plants.

Many gardeners cope with this heavy clay-based soil by ‘lightening’ it with sand. However many plant scientists claim this will often make things worse as clay is relatively impervious while sand can absorb plenty of water. This, in turn can draw too much water to your plants and drown them.

sunburn garden myths2. Sun through water burns leaves

Many people claim that watering your plants during particularly sunny periods of the day can cause water droplets on plants to focus the solar rays from the sun, damaging leaves and flowers alike. However this isn’t entirely true as mostly the droplets tend to fall close to leaves and evaporating before ill effects can take place. Yet this ‘sunburn’ problem can very rarely occur on ‘hairy’ plants such as ferns which can sometimes catch droplets far enough away to act as a lense.

3. Tree wounds need tree wounds garden myths
redressing

Another myth passed down over generations is the need to use tree paint or tar on tree wounds after pruning or lopping off branches. It is believed that without protection, trees would be vulnerable to pests and diseases, causing them to decay and die at a quicker rate. Over the years this has spawned many tree healing and redressing products, despite this myth actually being debunked in the 1970’s and 80’s by Dr Alex Shigo of the US Forest Service.

His theory of how compartmentalisation affects tree decay showed that applying products such as tar onto tree wounds does nothing to aid this process and also can provide a home and protective layer for pests and fungi making things worse!

gravel garden myths4. Gravel helps containers to drain

This one is very popular as it has almost become standard practise for many of us to fill containers with gravel or stones at the bottom for ‘drainage’. However this has been proven to restrict plant growth and result in poor drainage due to water sitting above the gravel and stones. The fact of the matter is soil holds moisture better than gravel does, so as long as there is a hole at the bottom of the container, water will find its way out.

The only actual benefit to adding stones at the bottom of a planter or container is to cover the hole and stop compost escaping.

5. Natural is saferpesticides garden myths

Finally, with everything going the environmental friendly route as of late, there has been a particular surge in natural pesticides. Many widely regard these labelled ‘natural’ pesticides to be the safest options for both wildlife and plants, but this is far from the case.

For example many off the shelf “natural” pesticides contain high percentages of vinegar. This has been known to kill pests, however also can be harmful for plants, often killing the tops of plants. Another important ingredient to avoid using is copper which can easily build up and stunt plant growth. If you need some homemade ideas for alternatives to pesticides, make sure you check out our pests infographic!

 

Do you have any garden myths or controversial techniques which you swear by? Did we debunk any of these myths for you? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll share the best ones!

 

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Amie, Animals, Gardening, How To, Moles, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Primrose.co.uk

Garden moles are widespread throughout the UK, and seen as a pest by gardeners and homeowners alike.  These distinctive looking critters bury tunnels, up to 100m per night, which can damage the roots and undergrowth of any plant structure. In turn, they leave unique molehills, which are not only an eyesore but a nuisance when you’re trying to maintain a garden area. So how is best to get rid of garden moles? We will show you how.

Mole, Nature, Animals, Molehills

  1. Mole traps

By placing a trap (ideally a spring trap) into one of the mole holes, you are able to catch and instantly kill the intruders, causing no suffering to the moles. Ideally, you will want more than one trap to ensure the moles cant elude or escape through their various tunnel routes.

  1. Mole repeller

If you’re after a more humane option, (solar) repellers work by emitting deep-frequency vibrations through the soil to drive moles away. This has the mole believe there are other animals, potentially predators lurking about, and moles are solitary animals so will avoid congested areas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. Mole bulbs

Plant the anti-mole bulbs into your garden to prevent moles from visiting for up to five years. They secrate a smell undetectable to humans, but one in which moles can’t stand.

  1. Mouse cage

Similar to mole traps, you could try using a rat cage trap to capture the pesky visitor, but in a way which doesn’t kill. You will need to place bait inside the cage, so I’d recommend earthworms. Once the bait is caught, the front entrance triggers shut, leaving you to dispose of the moles elsewhere.

  1. Professional pest control

If all the above fails, and you’re at a loss at what more you can do, why not call up a local pest expert. There are plenty of options out there to choose from, specialising in a range of pests.

SONY DSC

  1. Enjoy their company

Or take another route, and just let the moles be. They’re not harming you, and you could make some new friends.

Molehill, Grass, Mole, Nature

Let us know how you get rid of garden moles!

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

To see the rest of Amie’s posts, click here.

Share!