By encouraging natural predators, following good garden practice, and making regular checks on your plants, you can keep many pests at bay. Aim to create conditions that support a healthy balance of
predators and their prey, and you will limit the damage and need fewer chemical controls.
Make a home for pest predators This water garden, surrounded by borders planted with a wide range of ﬂowering perennials, makes the perfect home for beneﬁcial bugs, slug-hunting amphibians, and insect-eating birds.
KEEPING PESTS AT BAY
Pest patrol should begin when you buy new plants or accept leafy gifts. Unwelcome visitors also ﬂy or crawl in from neighboring gardens, so keep your eyes peeled and take prompt action.
REDUCING THE RISK
To prevent a plague of pests, avoid growing large areas of one type of plant. It is more difﬁcult for pests to home in on their target when confronted by a variety of different plants, such as perennials, annuals, and shrubs, as well as herbs, vegetables, and fruit. The abundant nectar also draws in beneﬁcial insects (see opposite). Don’t overfeed plants because aphids love the resulting soft growth
Use a hand lens to scan ﬂower buds, shoot tips, and the undersides of leaves for mites, aphids, and whiteﬂy. Also look for grubs or nibbled roots when you take plants out of their pots, and search for
caterpillars on rolled or skeletonized leaves. A night-time foray with a ﬂashlight will reveal nocturnal pests, such as slugs and snails; seek them out during the day by checking under pots. Weed regularly,
and look out for pest hideouts
1 Neaten potential slug and snail roosting
sites. 2 Check buds and shoot tips for
aphids. 3 Pick off larger pests, such as
lily beetle, by hand.