Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Pesticides
Posted on July 11 2018
Here, at The Present Tree, we pride ourselves in being all-natural and organic. From the compost we use to keep our saplings super healthy to the repellent we mix to deter garden pests - you have our complete assurance that we truly care about our trees and the environment in which we raise them.
We understand that pests may be a major problem in many gardens. A store-bought insecticide, however tempting, is never the ideal solution. These supermarket sprays are packed with harmful toxins that are poisonous to bugs and other animals, including us and our pets! Yes, these nasty chemicals will zap the pesky creatures such as weevils, aphids, snails and slugs, but also affects the goodies too. Pesticides kill the goodies too, including our precious bees, spiders, frogs, ladybirds and many more! In a healthy, natural garden, there should ideally be enough predators to kill pests. The natural food-chain teaches us that the song-thrush eats snails, the ladybird munches greenfly and the hedgehog loves slugs. So it makes sense to let Mother Nature do her work!
If you live in an area where wildlife isn’t abundant (but hungry insects are) then we’ve got some great solutions to keep these nibbling critters away.
HOW TO GET RID OF SLUGS NATURALLY
Soft bodied pests can be sticklers to control, we all know about the ‘salting’ method but that’s sure to leave your soil in a pretty nasty condition. For an effective and natural way to deter slugs and snails, mix a few cloves of crushed garlic with several tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of washing up liquid (we love organic Pink Sun detergent, but any will do!) and 1 litre of water. Put into a spray bottle and use on the affected area of your garden. This will stop any slug in its tracks without harming other bugs. Re-spray every few days until you notice a difference in pest-population.
If your slug population is particularly hardy you can also purchase nematodes from your local garden shop. These are microscopic creatures which, when moist and applied to soil, hatch and naturally deter soft-bodied pests and beetles. Nematodes are harmless to humans and pets which makes them a great solution for a family garden.
HOW TO GET RID OF APHIDS NATURALLY
It’s best to bring natural predators into your environment and you can do this by planting shrubs that attract them! Ladybirds love dill, fennel, sunflowers and yarrow. All aphids, including greenfly and blackfly shy away from strongly scented herbs such as basil, mint and plants from the onion and garlic family. We use an organic blend Leaf Spray that deters all munching pests without harming our trees, our wildlife and the planet.
HOW TO KILL WEEDS NATURALLY
There’s nothing like getting down on your hands and knees and pulling weeds out and it is quite therapeutic too! If you don’t fancy grappling in the frays of your garden or patio, boiling water always works a treat, just be careful the hot water does not affect the roots of other beloved plants.
It’s also important to make sure your garden is happy and healthy as weaker plants and trees can attract pests to your garden. Protect them naturally from malnutrition by drenching with an organic Tree Tonic to replenish their vitamins and nutrients. You can also add a mulch and natural compost (which can be made with organic kitchen waste at home). Remember to weed regularly to reduce the chance of nasties making their homes in the foliage of more hardy plants!