Make sure the garden pest leaves your plants alone

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A good way of beating any boredom you may be feeling during lockdown and to keep active and get some fresh air is by getting out into your garden. Here are some handy hints from our gardening expert, George Irvine. Here’s what he’s saying this week:

With all the nice sunny dry weather of recent months you may be forgiven for believing that everything in the garden is rosy – or so you may think.

It is however, worthwhile to regularly take a stroll round your garden and take a close look at all the flowers and vegetables you are growing. And that also goes for the plants in your greenhouse.

On many of these good days you have probably noticed white butterflies abound in the garden. All very nice and summery, but these white butterflies will leave caterpillars on your vegetables – particularly cabbages and other members of the Brassica family.

Allowed to go unchecked these caterpillars will soon eat away at your plants. Additionally, if you have Gooseberry bushes, the Gooseberry Sawfly can eat the leaves at an alarmingly quick rate over just a couple of days.

When inspecting your plants make sure you look at the underside of the leaves and you may be surprised at just how many caterpillars you find.

If you do find caterpillars, it’s time to reach for spray of Bug Clear (available at Cardwell Garden Centre) and spray immediately. You may have to spray at regular intervals thereafter.

Check for Aphids – black fly, greenfly and whitefly – on all your plants and again, if you see any, spray with Bug Clear or any other insecticide.

If you see Aphids on your plants in the greenhouse, you can get yellow sticky panels can be hung in the greenhouse and these will attract and trap the Aphids.

Earwigs can destroy flowers such as Dahlias and Chrysanthemums and can be noticed by the holes they make in the petals of the flowers.

Earwigs are active at night and as well as spraying with an insecticide, you can place an upturned plant pot on top of a cane in among your plants and fill the upturned pot with straw, or crumpled up newspaper. The earwigs will crawl into the paper or straw during the day and you can remove them before nightfall.

Red Spider is quite common in greenhouses and it thrives in the dry hot conditions. Again, reach for the insecticide spray and use it regularly. Often damping down the floor of the greenhouse helps to deter them.

And remember, when using insecticides always read the manufacturers instructions carefully before use.

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