WEEDS

In the grand scheme of nature all plants are equal.

Certain plants are declared “weeds” because humans have decided that they compete with the useful ones and we have also decided which are useful.

 

Weeds are Disliked for a Number of Reasons

  • Water/nutrients allocated for flowers are used by weeds.
  • The appearance of the garden becomes overgrown and untidy.
  • Weeds harbour pests and diseases.
  • Weeds are impossible to eradicate.

 

We Need a Change in Attitude

Most weeds are annuals and produce a vast amount of seed.

Do not allow the plants to produce seed.

Cover the soil with a layer of mulch to prevent seed in the soil from germinating.

Where possible keep soil planted up. Should seed germinate, trim with weedeater/brushcutter.

Pull up unattractive weeds, but leave them on the surface of the soil. Nutrients will be returned to the soil and mulch created.

Stubborn perennial weeds like Wild Garlic have to be dug out with the bulbous rootstock and discarded with municipal garbage.

Most weeds prefer an imbalanced soil with acidic ph. Enrich the soil with compost and apply lime to change this.

Poor drainage and an exhausted soil will encourage weed germination, as this is nature’s way of trying to correct the imbalance.

INSECT PESTS

Will you believe the fact that only 0.3% of all insects are true pests?

99% of insects are beneficial to mankind and the earth in general.

  • Insects are pollinators and without them many plants would die out.
  • Insects are valued decomposers. They clean up our world e.g. dung beetles and ants
  • Insects are superb recyclers. Their activities turn organic matter to humus e.g. grubs and maggots.
  • Insects are a source of food to other creatures. Birds, frogs, lizards all survive on insects.

 

Why Do We Want to Kill Them?

The damage they cause to our plants is visible.

Insects multiply rapidly when natural predators are eliminated.

Scientists create poisons, but unfortunately not all the pests are killed and the survivors develop immunity to these toxins.

APHIDS

A dominant group in the insect world and a great source of food for many others.

To control them (not eliminate) ensure that your plants are strong and healthy.

Exhausted soil, water shortage and too much fertiliser resulting in plant stress are good reasons for an aphid attack.

Interplant with herbs to deter ants. The sugary fluid oozing from aphids is an ant favourite.

During a bad attack the use of an organic pesticide will kill most aphids, but less of the beneficial insects like Ladybirds, Lacewings and Hover Flies that feast on aphids.

SCALE INSECTS

The young scale is mobile and can be wiped of plants. They only settle under a protective cover when mature.

Avoid over fertilisation, overwatering of succulents and deter ants. Commercial natural products should only be used as a last resort.

WHITE FLIES

They are sucking insects that hide underneath the leaves and are responsible for transmitting viral diseases in plants.

Do not water susceptible plants late afternoon and thin out overgrown plant material to allow airflow between plants.

Plant a variety of species as not all plants are susceptible to white fly.

Spray the underside of leaves with an organic product during a severe attack

*We do not know the long term effect of the toxins we are using. Toxins are only effective for a short period of time, because nature has the power to overrule.