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How To Get Rid of The Top 8 Common Garden Pests

Gardening is a fantastic hobby, whatever your age or circumstances.

It is a way of relaxing while at the same time using your talent for growing plants and trees.

We’ll look today at how to get rid of the top 8 garden pests that might ruin all your hard work.

While it might be considered a pastime, nurturing plants is also a very demanding job. Maintaining the health of a garden is a huge responsibility too.

Plants and trees aren’t simply garden decor. They lift up your energy too and inject beauty into your surroundings. Gardening isn’t just about planting. When you decide to plant, you also have to take care of the nourishment and ongoing lives of the plants.

And in order to do that, you need to watch out closely for any possible obstacles that will prevent your plants from growing healthily.

Some of these problems are the various pests that come to attack the plants and feed on them.

We’ll touch on the top 8 garden pests that pose the most danger to our plants and show you how to eliminate them all for good.

Getting Rid of the Top 8 Garden Pests

1) Ants

ants

Source: Professional Ecological Services

Among all the groups in the animal and insect kingdom, ants are incredibly durable. While some animals are nearing extinction, billions of ants remain strong.

Generally, ants aren’t a garden enemy. They even eat some insects that feed on plants. The only issue with ants is that they tend to keep other insects like aphids and white flies hostage. This is due to the honeydew they gather which the ants love to eat. They pop honeydew onto leaves which in turn aphids and white flies eat and destroy.

The easiest way to get rid of ants is to just brush them off. But then again, these tiny insects have a reputation for being stubborn. They keep coming back as many times as you drive them away.

Another way is to use magic chalk. Otherwise known as insecticide or miraculous chalk, this white chalk is used just like regular board chalk. Simply work it onto the path where the ants normally tread and it will serve as a barrier. Ants won’t cross the white line. They will automatically smell that it’s toxic and avoid it.

Important Note: Keep this chalk away from little kids and pets as it’s poisonous when ingested.

2) Box Tree Moth/Caterpillar

box tree moth

Source: EBTS

Caterpillars, as we all know, primarily feed on leaves. They leave a trail of webbed and ripped foliage as they pass.

Also known as cydalima perspectalis, the best way to get rid of box tree moths is to simply remove them by hand. Use a tissue or paper as their hairs can irritate your skin and leave you with rashes. Afterward, cut away all the damaged leaves to retain the aesthetics.

3) Fuchsia Gall Mites

fuchsia mite

Source: Aphotofauna

Aptly named after the fuchsia flower, these mites attack only this fuchsia plant.

Just like its other mite relatives, fuchsia gall mite is so tiny that it can be only seen through a microscope.

Although it feeds only on fuchsias, these gall mites can infest and ultimately kill the plant. When left untreated, the plant will be left totally damaged and die.

Fuchsia gall mites cannot be destroyed by insecticide. Gardeners should try to locate silk threads and broken foliage and cut them off along with the shoot tips. Water with a hose and separate the fuchsia from other plants to prevent contaminating them.

4) Glasshouse Thrips

Glasshouse Thrips

Source: Koppert Biological Systems

These small insects attack greenhouse indoor plants as well as outdoor plants. They suck the juices out of the leaves, fruits and even flowers. This leaves the plant completely drained and ready to die.

These tiny black pests can also only be located using a magnifying lens. Vegetables are their favorite. You can just imagine the problem they create for farmers.

Early detection is always the key to all pest control. Since thrips are so tiny, if you forget to bring your magnifying glass, try to find tiny black threads lounging on your plants. This is how thrips look to the naked eye.

Immediately wash the vegetables or plants with a hose to remove these pests. Cut off all affected parts and discard them into a trash bag at once.

As with the other pests, greenhouse thrips also have enemies that eat them. Deploy ladybugs and minute pirate bugs to feast on them.

Use mild insecticidal soaps and soap the undersides of leaves and flowers where the eggs are mostly lodged. Rinse thoroughly.

5) Slugs and Snails

Slug & snail

Source: The Gardener’s Almanac

This seemingly harmful little species actually eats all parts of the plant (seeds to fruits) and creates holes which leave plants with dotted punctures. Since they are readily visible, it is very easy to get rid of them.

When you drink a beer, try to leave some aside. Place it in a tiny plastic bag and hang it on the stem. You will find the snails hovering on the sides of the container. Slugs love the smell and taste of beer. We just don’t know if they can also get drunk when they take a suck!

Slugs and snails have enemies too. Place some plants that slugs and snails dislike besides the ones that they are infesting. Try:

  • Chives
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Geranium
  • Mint

These pests will eventually leave the plant they are feeding on.

If you need the help of some predators, try putting some ducks in your garden. Ducks love to eat snails. And lastly, since snails are visible, the simplest way is to just remove them by hand and put them somewhere far from your garden.

6) Vine Weevils

Vine Weevils

Source: Royal Horticultural Society

Scientifically known as otiorhyncus sulcatus, these pests are somewhat nocturnal. They hide during the day under the leaves and feed on the roots of the plant by night.

Since they dislike the light, weevils can be easily removed at night time too. Simply bring a flashlight or candle. Place it near the vine weevil where it can be exposed clearly. You won’t need to touch them, they will just start dropping onto the ground. After they’ve dropped, pick them up with some tissue or paper and throw them into the bin well away from any soil.

7) Woolly Aphids

Woolly Aphids

Source: Bug Tracks

These pests mainly attack apple trees.

Woolly aphids or fairy flies love to suck the juice from tree sap. They look like white fluffy seeds or tiny cotton debris floating in the air. A group of woolly aphids sometimes resemble mold or fungi.

These aphids eat almost all parts of a tree. They cause leaves to become yellow, curled and die. They lay eggs in spring and attack in summer.

In order to protect apple trees, farmers are advised to use woolly aphids’ natural predators. These are ladybugs, lacy wings and wasps.

Before closing, we will take a very swift look at two other general pests, mosquitoes and fleas.

8) Mosquitoes and Fleas

Mosquitoes and Fleas

Source: Life With Dogs

Fleas and mosquitoes are both parasitic insects that feed on the blood of their prey. While fleas attack mostly animals and rarely humans, mosquitoes principally prey on man.

Flea bites generally appear in patterns on the lower body.  Mosquito bites are more isolated and can crop up anywhere. Flea bites heal more quickly than mosquito bites. These can take several days to mend.

This article explains some of the more technical differences between the two types of bite.

Wrap Up

Planting is one thing but maintaining the growth and health of those plants is something else entirely.

We hope we have given you plenty of information that helps you to identify the top 8 garden pests and the knowledge to eradicate them.

If you have any comments, queries or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How To Get Rid Of Pokeweed

Otherwise known as phytolacca americana, American pokeweed is commonly found in the United States. It’s most abundant in the eastern part of the country.

pokeweed

Source: Wikipedia

All About Pokeweed

The name phytolacca is a combination of the Greek word phytos (plant) and the French term laca (crimson red). Americana was added because pokeweed originated in the US and grows most abundantly there.

Pokeweed is a type of berry that possesses a purple to almost black color and resembles grapes.

The stems of pokeweed range from red to purple in color.

This fruit is a primary staple for birds but is toxic to humans and bigger animals when eaten without proper preparation. This plant can make you ill. It can even kill. Even though pokeweed is considered poisonous to ingest, there are still a lot of people eating it daily.

It is said that the roots of the pokeweed shouldn’t be eaten because there is where most of the toxins are lodged.

Mature fruits shouldn’t be chewed either. These are the more poisonous ones. The seeds of the berries should also be discarded.

Important Note: If you want to consume pokeweed, take precautions. Rinse the berries thoroughly. It is recommended you boil them for 20 minutes. The same method should be applied to the leaves and stems. Do not drink the water it was boiled in. Do not eat pokeweed raw.

More Facts about Pokeweed

pokeweed berries

Source: Herbal Extracts Plus

Pokeweed was named after the native Indian plant pakon which is used in dyeing or coloring.

The red juice produced by pokeweed berry has long been used by American Indians for staining the feathers in their headdresses. They also color their faces, skin, horses, garments and weapons with pokeweed juice.

This practice has been carried out for centuries and pokeweed was also used in food coloring and as ink but is now prohibited due to its toxic contents.

Pokeweed has also been used as medicinal herbs in earlier times. Reports have it that this plant, however toxic it may be, can also cure serious ailments like syphilis and arthritis. It was used as a lymphatic cleanser and laxative too.

Protein from this particular plant is also being applied these days in some treatments for the HIV virus.

This plant is mainly popular among Native American Indians, presumably because pokeweed sprouts copiously in the wild.

How To Get Rid of Pokeweed The Easy Way

Pokeweed, however beneficial some people claim it to be, is considered by most experts a wild plant and a pest that is harmful not only to humans but to other plants as well.

It grows almost everywhere in the United States as it’s a favorite food of birds. Birds love seed. The birds drop the seeds indiscriminately. They germinate anywhere and everywhere.

Their color and appearance are very enticing, especially to small children. Even adults can be deceived and mistake pokeweed for grapes or other edible wild berries. For these reasons, the American government decided to have these perennial plants eliminated.

How can you do the same if your garden is blighted by pokeweed?

Below are some simple proven steps to help eradicate it.

Read on!

  • Firstly, you need to be more educated about what pokeweed looks like. This means you can avoid removing berries that are similar in appearance
  • When you spot one, simply pull the whole plant. Uproot it totally from the soil. It is easier to do this on a budding pokeweed due to its more manageable size
  • Dig deeper for bigger pokeweed plants. You need to remove all possible roots to ensure no more will sprout. You might need the help of a shovel
  • For larger roots,  use a small bolo or axe. Chop them off for ease of removal
  • Place all removed pokeweed parts into a sack or trash bag. Leave them to dry under the sun on cemented dry ground. Pokeweed will manage to grow back it’s left in soil. It will eventually die with the sun’s heat and no hydration
  • When the plant has totally dried up and died, it can be thrown into a bin for complete disposal

Important Note: Pokeweed is an invasive plant. It grows rapidly, especially in soft soil. Thorough removal should be taken care of to prevent future problems.

Additional Tips For Remaining Pokeweed-Free

Once a pokeweed habitation has been established, it will be necessary to continuously check for any new pokeweed growth.

Birds are instrumental in spreading pokeweed. We can always expect new growth to come out anytime, anywhere. Pokeweed is unpredictable.

Watch out for possible regrowth, particularly in the spring and summer. Uproot any suspicious plants while they are just beginning to sprout.

Wrap Up

We hope we have supplied you with as much knowledge as you need with regards to pokeweed plants. You should now have a solid overview of how to get rid of pokeweed the easy way.

If you have any comments, queries or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always more than happy to help you.

Please also feel free to share any of our articles on your social media.

Happy weeding!

15-0-15 Fertilizer: What’s It All About?

One of the most thrilling things about gardening is having a lush, green lawn to complement all your plants and flowers.

In addition to a sensible watering regime, you’ll also want to get yourself the best fertilizer for the job.

Today, we’ll take a look at what the numbers like 15-0-15 displayed on the packs of fertilizer mean along with some general tips and guidance on fertilizing your lawn the right way.

The right nutrients are paramount if you want to get the very best out of your lawn.

What Do The Numbers Mean On Fertilizer Packs?

fertilizer

Source: Woerner Landscape Services

When you look at packs of fertilizer, you’ll see 3 numbers quite prominently displayed.

These numbers refer to:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Your lawn needs plenty of nitrogen so that you’ll get proper growth, a perfect color and overall health to your grass. Warm-season and cool-season grasses both respond well to a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen.

Phosphorus helps to kickstart early growth. This is crucial for your seedlings to develop correctly. If your lawn has been freshly seeded, you should opt for a mix heavy in phosphorus.

You’ll want potassium in your fertilizer to help build up resistance to disease and to add strength to the root structure.

The numbers will always be listed in this order (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and illustrate the percentage of each component found in the pack.

A 10-10-10 mix is a very common all-purpose garden fertilizer. To break it down, if you got a 50-pound bag you would have 5 pounds (10%) of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The remaining 70% of the bag is made up of inert filler to help get the chemicals circulating efficiently.

Using 15-0-15 Fertilizer

fertilizer

SourceWoerner Landscape Services

If you go for a mix of 15-0-15, you’ll have nitrogen and potassium but no phosphorus.

Warm season grasses like Bermuda and St Agustine respond well to this mix. From shrubs and trees through to ornamental gardens or vegetable patches, 15-0-15 has a range of applications.

The ideal time to apply this fertilizer is from the middle of spring on through the summer. You can use it year-round with no problem at all.

Apply it with a spreader, mix lightly and water thoroughly.

Types of Fertilizer

You have a choice of several different types of fertilizer over and beyond the mixes listed above.

Slow-Release

This type of fertilizer does not need to be used as frequently. The trade-off is that it’s usually much more expensive.

Fast-Release

If you want results in a hurry, fast-release fertilizer will deliver.

You’ll need to apply this fertilizer more often and using lesser amounts. Be very cautious not to use too much or you might burn your lawn.

Liquid Fertilizer

These are tough to apply evenly and need to be regularly re-applied so are best avoided.

Organic Materials

Compost and manure are not as concentrated as chemical fertilizers so you’ll need to use a great deal more.

Be very careful with horse manure as it can contain weed seeds.

When To Fertilize Your Lawn

lawns

Source: Pike Nursery

You should ideally fertilize your lawn three times a year.

It’s absolutely essential to feed your lawn while it’s still activelt growing and never during a period of drought.

Start off in early spring as the grass starts to get green.

From that point, your fertilizing schedule will depend on 3 main factors:

  • Climate
  • Type of grass
  • Type of fertilizer

Most lawn seed that you get is a mixture of a few types of grass so fertilizing in spring and fall is advisable.

If there is any kind of drought, either stop using fertilizer or cut it right back. In these conditions, you want to lessen the amount of nutrients your lawn gets so growth will slow back. Reduce watering too if things are too dry for comfort.

How To Fertilize Your Lawn

fertilizer

Source: Curbed Seattle

You can fertilize by hand but the results are questionable. You risk burning the grass if you apply it in too concentrated a manner. If you miss covering other areas adequately, you’ll get pale patches.

The best option is to buy yourself a fertilizer spreader. We reviewed some of the best fertilizer spreaders here.

  • Apply your chosen fertilizer to freshly mown grass. Make sure there is no wind although a fine dew is OK
  • For best results, use only half the suggested amount in your spreader
  • Remember to start working before you turn on your spreader and to shut it down before you come to a stop
  • Make sure you wash your spreader after use
  • Water the lawn for optimum effect. It’s perfect if you can fertilize just before it starts raining but if not then just thoroughly water instead

Is It Possible To Use Too Much Fertilizer?

Yes!

While making sure your lawn gets the added nutrients it dearly needs is wise, being heavy-handed with your fertilizer can lead to problems.

Using too much feed will mean you need to mow your grass far more often.

The grass also tends to grow back quickly so, if this happens, make certain to obey the one-third rule: don’t cut off more than one-third of the leaf blade in one session of mowing. If you end up scalping the lawn, you’re inviting the weeds in.

Also, over-fertilizing can lead to turfgrass diseases setting in. Both pythium and brown patch take root in warm and moist conditions where over-fertilization has occurred. You’ll need some fungicide to fight back if these diseases take hold.

If you go totally over the top and grossly exceed the recommended application rate, you’ll finish up with scorched yellow grass and a ruined lawn.

The key? Less is more with fertilizing.

Wrap-Up

Well, hopefully you have enjoyed our explanation of 15-0-15 fertilizer and you now have a clear idea of what the numbers on fertilizer packages translate to.

Please feel free to share any of our articles on your social media if you think they would be of interest.

Contact us at any time if you have any questions or there’s anything you’d like to know about any aspect of gardening.

Now get that fertilizer spreader going!

Grass Going to Seed: What’s It All About?

The expression going to seed has negative connotations.

“His apartment is really going to seed…”

It suggests neglect and things going from bad to worse.

Grass going to seed can happen for various reasons so we’ll take a quick snapshot today at the perils of letting your lawn go to seed.

What Does It Mean When Grass Goes To Seed?

grass going to seed

Source: Tuff Turf MoleBusters

If you notice your lawn looking rather untidy with some blotches and patches, it might well https://www.igardenplanting.com/best-weeder-reviews/be on its way to seed.

Maintaining your garden is essential. If it seems like hard work at times, try to focus on the therapeutic benefits of tending your garden. Make sure you invest in the best garden tools for the job.

With your grass, you really do need to cut it regularly. Slack off and you could be faced with a lawn going to seed.

If you see lighter patches and thick, tough stems growing, it could be time to snap to action.

Don’t blame yourself if your grass starts going to seed. Weather can bring this about. Hot weather can stress grass and this stressed grass can often “bolt” and make a last attempt to run to seed before it gives up the ghost.

The important thing is to know how to remedy this.

Why Do Some People Let Their Grass Go To Seed?

One school of thought suggests that if you let your grass run to seed, it will help to fill in any bare or sparse patches.

Letting your grass grow until it grows seed heads is not always the answer, though. Often, energy is pulled away from the runners and used elsewhere less efficiently.

Grass needs more nutrients for seeds to develop than it does in order to grow runners. Essentially, if you deliberately let your grass go to seed, you are causing nutrients to be pulled from the soil and the existing grass to be weakened.

3 Problems With Grass Going To Seed

grass going to seed

There are 3 key drawbacks to letting your grass go to seed…

1) It Weakens The Grass

Part of the reason for regularly mowing your lawn is so that your garden looks pleasing to the eye.

The other core purpose of mowing is to keep your grass remaining strong and healthy. Proper, frequent mowing is central if you want a lush, green lawn.

By easing off on the mowing, you’re actually harming your grass in the long run.

A great deal of the seed that does appear is likely to be sterile. Don’t bank on any bare patches being miraculously filled.

When you mow, you should not cut off more than one-third of the stem. This becomes awkward to achieve if you neglect your mowing duties and the grass becomes lengthy and unmanageable.

2) Creating Seeds Take Energy From Your Grass

The job of creating seeds is not easy for grass. It takes a lot of hard work.

When your lawn starts running to seed, the grass is forced to divert the energy it would ordinarily use for growing into the production of seeds. This will only serve to further weaken your grass.

The grass will also receive signals to stop it from repairing itself or kicking out so many rhizomes so you really are doing yourself and your lawn a disservice.

3) Stops Effective Weed Control

Every gardener across the face of the globe is menaced by weeds. They grow quickly and are often very stubborn and hard to remove.

By allowing your grass to run to seed, you are permitting weeds to run rampant, inviting them in with open arms.

A consistent mowing regime ensures that weeds are cut back on a regular basis.

Don’t slip up and let weeds get the upper hand. They are enough of a pest anyway without being given a needless advantage.

How Can I Stop Grass Going To Seed?

 grass going to seed

There is not really much you can do about the times when grass naturally runs to seed. This is simply part of the natural order of things.

In general, though, frequent mowing and watering are the best preventive medicine for grass running to seed.

It’s a smart move to use a swisher or take before mowing. This works a bit like combing the grass. The flowering stems are lifted up and easier to cut when separated from the sward. If you keep this practice up, the energy of the grass will be focused on producing a vibrant green growth which is precisely what you’re looking for.

Wrap-Up

We hope you have enjoyed this glance at the perils of letting your grass go to seed.

Comment using this simple form if you have any feedback or you have any queries about any aspect of gardening. We are always delighted to hear from our readers as this site develops.

Now stay vigilant and don’t let your grass start going to seed!

4

Vermiculite vs Perlite: Which Should You Use In Your Garden?

If you are looking to enhance the way moisture is retained by soil and to boost its aeration, using either vermiculite and perlite is a great way to achieve this.

We will look today at what these treatments are and the key ways in which they differ.

The precise needs of the plants in your garden will dictate which of these works best. Take the time to think about the set-up of your outdoor space then determine which will be the most suitable fit for your requirements.

What Is Vermiculite?

vermiculite

Source: ArchiExpo

Vermiculite has been used for approaching a century across several industries. As well as horticulture and agriculture, the construction and industrial markets also make use of this fascinating mineral.

The name comes from the Latin vermiculare. This means “to breed worms” and it’s named in this fashion for the way in which exfoliation causes it to heat up and expand into pieces like a worm.

Vermiculite resembles mica in appearance.

This mineral has a very wide range of applications. Here are some of the many beneficial properties it boasts…

  • Sterile and inorganic
  • Low in alkalinity
  • Great ability to hold in water
  • Not toxic and presents no fire hazard
  • Fantastic air-holding capacity
  • Will absorb any excess nutrients
  • Non-irritant, non-abrasive
  • Does not deteriorate when stored in dry conditions
  • Strong insulating properties and lessens fluctuations soil temperature

Key Uses of Vermiculite

Potting Mixes

compost

Vermiculite works wonders in potting compost. You will enjoy an open and very light compost by adding it to your mix.

Your compost will hold more water and rewetting is simplified. For you, this means that you will be able to hold out for longer between watering.

The ion-exchange properties of this mineral are first-rate. This causes any surplus nutrients to be efficiently absorbed. They will then be slowly released to the plants by way of the tiny root hairs.

  • Bedding Plants/Nursery Stock: Go for a 25/75 mix combining vermiculite with sphagnum moss peat
  • Greenhouse Pot Plants/Hanging Baskets: A 50/50 mix of the above works most effectively for these

If you already have your compost taken care of, you can still improve it. Simply add in 25% by volume of vermiculite and enjoy the many benefits this material will bring to your garden.

Seed Germination

seed germinating

Vermiculite is handy for germinating seeds. Its water-holding and aeration properties make it ideal for this purpose. It’s non-toxic and can safely come into direct contact with the seeds.

You can use it alone with no compost. If you do, feed your seedlings with a weak fertilizer solution as soon as they first appear.

With larger seeds, you can pop them in a small plastic bag along with some vermiculite. Close the bag at the neck. Keep it in a warm place until the seeds start to germinate. Once done, plant them in little trays of potting compost.

It’s also possible to apply vermiculite to the seed bed outdoors. This will reduce any danger of capping and enhance emergence.

Cuttings and Rootings

plant roots vermiculite

If you use the combination of vermiculite and sphagnum moss, you can enjoy stimulating the growth of plant roots. You’ll also benefit from a superior uptake of nutrients.

For cuttings under plastic covers or on a bench, shoot for a 50/50 mix.

25% is the recommended maximum if you use mist irrigation.

Make sure that you water the vermiculite well before you insert the cuttings. Also, avoid too much compressing at the base of the cutting.

What Is Perlite?

perlite

Source: National Gardening Association 

Perlite is the generic name for a siliceous rock that occurs naturally.

It’s different from other volcanic glasses as when it is heated it will expand significantly.

Much like vermiculite, perlite has a diverse range of benefits…

  • Sterile, inorganic and inert
  • Stops any compaction
  • Better drainage and aeration
  • Not toxic and presents no fire hazard
  • Holds in moisture but does not get soggy
  • pH is nearly neutral
  • Helps roots to start effectively and grow well
  • Does not decompose and lasts for years

Key Uses of Perlite

Potting Compost

windfall-266894_1920

You can use perlite as a partial or complete replacement for sand and grit in your compost. You will notice a distinct improvement in insulation, drainage and aeration. Rewetting will also be boosted.

You can also open up the composts you have in place.

  • Soil-less Composts: Shoot for for an 80/20 mix of sphagnum moss peat and perlite
  • Loam-based compost: Equal parts perlite, sterilized loam and peat. Chuck in some nutrients and limestone for good measure

Make certain to mix it up nicely then water well.

Soil Conditioning

soil for perlite

If you have clay or heavy silt soil in your garden, harnessing perlite will give you a superior texture. You will get better drainage and improved aeration.

With any problematic seed or flower beds, add around 25% perlite before sowing takes place.

For roses, shrubs and trees, mix up some perlite with your soil when you are filling your planting hole. This will help to encourage root growth. Firm it up around the roots then give it a thorough watering.

Dressing Your Turf

perlite for turf

For any poorly drained or compacted areas of turf, perlite is a smart way to get more drainage and more air circulating.

You should notice a better balance of air and moisture. The turf will grow more efficiently. Roots will develop better.

In general, your turf will become more resilient as well as more tolerant of extremes of weather if perlite is introduced.

Spike the area you want to work with. Mix up some perlite with a fertilizer. Spread an extremely thin layer all over. Rake, brush, water.

A little goes a long way. A 100 liter bag should be good for an area of 50 meters square.

Differences Between Vermiculite and Perlite

While both vermiculite and perlite excel at helping with the way in which moisture is retained in soil then aerated, they are not always used in precisely the same way. They are actually different in terms of the way they are made up and the effects they deliver.

What, then, are the differences between these two materials?

Make-Up

Vermiculite is a silicate of aluminum-iron-magnesium silicate. The particles expand when it is heated. This promotes water retention. It can actually take in up to four times its own volume of water. Potassium, calcium and magnesium are also drawn in to the plants.

Perlite, on the other hand, is a silicon-rich volcanic rock. The tiny bubbles do hold in moisture just like with vermiculite. The difference is that perlite also draws in the air.

Retaining Water

Both these materials are superb when it comes to water retention.

Vermiculite is like a sponge and will take in even more than perlite. It will not aerate the roots as well, though.

Perlite is porous so drains better. Soil aeration is its real strong suit.

How Do They Look?

Vermiculite is a brown and spongy material. It comes in the form of flakes.

Perlite is white and granular. It resembles small foam balls.

Uses In The Garden

The principal ways in which vermiculite and perlite are used are for:

  1. Aeration
  2. Moisture retention
  3. Soil compaction
  4. Propagating plants
  5. Cultivating seeds
  6. Composting
  7. Indoor growing
  8. Lawn care

That’s quite a broad range of applications!

Its the different way in which they hold in water that makes them suited to various plants.

  • Vermiculite: Superb for plants that demand lots of water
  • Perlite: Far better for plants that don’t call for too much hydration like cacti, for example

Wrap-Up

We hope you have found this dissection of vermiculite and perlite useful.

Although some people believe the two to be interchangeable, the above comparison shows that this is not strictly true.

As with all aspects of gardening, pay close attention to the precise demands of your garden. There is no one-size solution.

If you have any questions regarding these two wonderful materials or any other aspect of gardening, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will get back to you as promptly as possible.

Dylox Insecticide: How To Treat Grubs In Your Garden The Easy Way

What should you do if you have an infestation of grubs in your garden?

One highly effective solution is to use Bayer’s Dylox, a selective and extremely efficient insecticide.

Before we look at this remedy, we’ll first investigate a little about grubs…

My Lawn Has Lots of Grubs: Help!

dylox insecticide for grubs

If you are pottering around in the garden and see a couple of grubs, there’s no real cause for alarm. Even spotting one or two on the lawn should be no cause for immediate concern.

There is certainly no sense in reaching straight for the insecticide unless you have a proper infestation.

If you notice an abundance of grubs, though, it’s time to take action swiftly.

They might seem relatively benign but they can easily kill off your turf. The damage caused by grubs chewing up the roots can be devastating. Insufficient water and nutrients getting through will cause your grass to turn brown and die off. This is the last thing you need after putting in so much hard work.

Signs That You Could Have a Grub Problem

Here are some pointers that should help you determine whether or not you have a grub problem…

  • Sightings of lots of grubs in one specific area. Any more than a handful in a 1 square foot area and it’s time to investigate
  • Unexpectedly heavy bird concentration in one area of the lawn. Birds love to feast on grubs so watch out for their habits and take action if necessary
  • Loose brown turf. The lack of roots means it will rip up very easily
  • Any racoon or skunk damage. They like to eat grubs. They also wreak havoc on your lawn
  • Beetle activity. This is where the grubs come from. The eggs they lay turn into grubs so keep your eye out for beetles, especially Japanese beetles

If you find that some or all of the above are in place, get prepared and get rid of them!

What Is Dylox?

Dylox is a potent selective insecticide often used by professionals.

Because of its chemical nature, it’s always a smart move to fully read the instructions and labeling. Become familiar with the product you are about to introduce into your garden. This way, you can maximize the efficiency of the insecticide while ensuring that your garden remains safe.

Bayer market Dylox, an organophosphate, in both liquid and granular form. You can also find it as a powder.

How Does Dylox Work?

Trichlorfon – dimethyl 2,2,2-trichloro-1-hydroxyethylphosphonate – is the active ingredient present in this Bayer insecticide.

The fact that it’s a selective insecticide means that it will kill some of the insects it comes into contact with but not all of them.

There are two main methods by which it works…

  • Directly coming into contact with the insect
  • Being ingested by the insect

One of the main issues with regular insecticides penetrating your lawn properly is thatch buildup. This can create a barrier between the grass and soil and stop the insecticide from seeping through.

If you follow the instructions closely, Dylox will make its way happily through up to half an inch of thatch and get straight to work on killing those pests.

What Pests Does Dylox Control?

  • Grubs
  • Bill bugs
  • Chinchbugs
  • Sod webworms
  • Armyworms
  • Cutworms
  • Bluegrass weevils

One of the constants of all of the above pests is the damage they inflict to your lawn. Dead patches and those still dying will turn brown. If you notice any holes, these are generally caused by the predators of the pests rather than the pests themselves.

So…

If you fear an infestation of any of the above nuisances, invest in some Dylox and get to work!

Different Types Of Dylox

Dylox 6.2

dylox 6.2

 Source: Pestrong

If you are looking for the granular version, it is sold as Dylox 6.2.

The tan granules have a very sweet smell to them.

Trichlorfon is the active ingredient in Dylox. 6.2 refers to the percentage of this according to weight.

Both subterranean and surface feeding insects will be killed when they come into contact with Dylox. It can also kill some birds and fish so think carefully about the environment in which you will use it.

Your best bet is to use a lawn spreader. You will need 2 pounds of Dylox 6.2 for every 1000 square foot of lawn. Pay close attention to the settings on your spreader. Use the correct name for best results.

Note: The trichlorfon will only be released once you have watered the area. Make sure that you do this after application.

This detailed guide from the manufacturer is well worth studying if you plan to use the granular variety.

Dylox 420 SL

dylox 420 sl liquid insecticide

Source: Pestrong

If you are on the hunt for Dylox in liquid form, opt for the 420 SL.

You mix up this clear solution with water then lace it onto your lawn.

The levels depend entirely upon which pest is blighting your garden. You will need to use anywhere between 4.5 and 7 fluid ounces along with a couple gallons of water for every 1000 square foot of grass.

One thing to bear in mind is that, although you mix this insecticide with water pre-application, you also need to water your lawn afterward. Do so until the grass is completely saturated.

A Word of Warning

dylox

Dylox is extremely toxic to humans.

Do not inhale or ingest the chemical. Do not allow it to come into contact with your skin.

Make sure that when you are applying Dylox you wear suitable protective clothing:

  • Pants
  • Long sleeves
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective glasses

Keep children and pets away from the treated area until it has been watered then thoroughly dried.

When tested on animals like rats, mice and hamsters, the active ingredient in Dylox has been shown to cause fetal abnormalities. Although there is no evidence to link this to humans, it’s best to stay safe. Keep any pregnant women away from the area completely.

Wrap-Up

While it’s great to keep the garden as free of chemicals as possible, sometimes it’s the only realistic option.

When you have a real outbreak of grubs or any of the other pests listed above, there really is very little option but to break out the insecticide.

Sometimes, the cheapest option works out just fine but in other cases paying for quality and results is essential. If you are looking for a highly effective insecticide then you should seriously consider Dylox. It gets the job done every time.

If you have any questions at all then don’t hesitate to contact us. We always value your feedback and try to answer any queries as promptly as possible.

Now get rid of those grubs with your Dylox!

Best Fertilizer For Grass 2017

If you properly fertilize your lawn then you’ll enjoy a vibrant, healthy and deep green landscape.

A proper feed schedule means that your grass will grow back rapidly after mowing as well as growing better.

The cornerstone of maintaining a lush lawn, in addition to mowing regularly, is the upkeep of a proper fertilizing regime. Giving the soil a helping hand and adding nutrients as required boosts color and also sees off any intruding weeds.

The critical ingredient is nitrogen although carbon and oxygen also play their role along with other minor nutrients.

Different types of grass require different proportions so it pays to do your homework.

One knock-on effect of a regular fertilizing routine is that you will subsequently need to mow your lawn more frequently. Look at this in a positive light: anything worthwhile demands a certain level of effort.

We will look today at some of the best fertilizer for grass reviews.

These 5 products are all quite widely recommended and are sure to help your lawn to flourish.

1) Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food

Miracle-Gro 1001233 All Purpose Plant Food - 5 Pound

This universally renowned and versatile fertilizer comes packed with 36% nitrogen. A healthy dose of potassium is included to give your lawn the extra boost it needs to realize its full potential.

You can easily dissolve this all-purpose food in water. Be careful to get the correct mixture or you run the risk of burning the grass.

Miracle Gro is equally useful for indoor and outdoor plants.

When you plan to fertilize, you will need a decent window of time before, during and after. Once you are done, make sure that pets and kids stay off the grass for at least 24 hours.

As well as a highly competitive price tag, you’ll also only need to apply this fertilizer once or twice a year. You’ll cover around 5000 square feet with a 5-pound box so it’s cost-effective as well as great at its job.

Take note that this is not an organic fertilizer. This does not detract from its ease of use and affordability but you will need to call for the disposal of any unused feed.

The beauty is that with Miracle Gro, if you have given your lawn enough attention, you can also use the plant food on trees, plants, flowers or shrubs.

2) Scott’s Natural Lawn Food

Scotts Natural Lawn Food - 4,000-sq ft

The beauty is that with Miracle Gro, if you have given your lawn enough attention, you can also use the plant food on trees, plants, flowers or shrubs.

This turf-building natural lawn food is reasonably priced and packs a high nitrogen count. It poses no problems to children or animals so you can use it worry-free.

You will need 12 pounds of this fertilizer to deal with 5000 square feet so bear this in mind when calculating the value for money.

The recommended application is every 6-8 weeks throughout the growing season so you will not only need more initially but will need to fertilize more often than with some alternative plant feeds.

This flexible fertilizer will trap water in the soil to aid the optimum hydration of your lawn.

As with many lawn fertilizers, care needs to be taken when disposing of waste and adequate precautions taken.

With Scott’s, you’ll get no unpleasant smells and can enjoy using a product which is far safer than chemical fertilizers.

3) Milorganite Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer

Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer, 36-Pound

As outlined above, chemical fertilizers are not without their drawbacks. Many people are deciding to move away from this method of lawn care.

The immediate advantage of this organic option is that you will not experience your lawn being burned. OK, when that happens the grass recovers soon enough but it’s handy not to be inconvenienced by this at all.

The heat-dried organic formula poses no threats to people or livestock. This is always important when considering fertilizers. Safety is paramount.

If your grass is tired and needs a real kickstart then Milorganite is a smart choice. You’ll notice a rapid and tangible benefit within weeks of fertilizing.

You can dole out nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to your grass with some iron thrown in to extract maximum greenness. Sulphur, copper, manganese and zinc are also included and valuable nutrients for your lawn.

Milorganite responds well to application at any time during the growing season. It also copes admirably in most climates.

The 36 pound bag will cover 4000 square feet if used 4 times so it’s a budget-conscious and ecologically-sound feeding method.

Milorganite can also be pressed into action for plants, flowers or shrubbery so it’s well worth popping on your shortlist.

4) Humboldt’s Secret Golden Tree

Humboldts Secret Golden Tree

This liquid solution from Humboldt’s Secret is a fantastic consideration for the best lawn fertilizer.

You can benefit from a range of different nutrients in one useful product. Everyone likes to save time and money. With Golden Tree you can do both while treating your lawn in the manner it deserves.

There are no miracle cures for most things but this plant food comes close with results noticeable within a day or two at most.

You can watch your lawn grow more rapidly with lasting results and added strength.

If you go for the 8 oz bottle you can extract 125 gallons of the feeding solution. It’s a professional grade fertilizer which stimulates the development of your plants. Basal metabolism will be increased while nitrogen will be encouraged to assimilate better.

Golden Tree is ruthlessly effective on other garden greenery as well so if you are looking to overhaul your entire yard with a much-needed shot of varied nutrients, this liquid could be just what you have been looking for.

5) Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer​

Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer - 25 Pounds

A final option for you to think about is this efficient plant fertilizer from Safer Brand.

You can enjoy an odor-free nutrient session to promote quick growth with no danger of damage to lawn in the case of over-application.

The nitrogen here is obtained from feather meal while bonemeal acts to aid slow release. Soybean works as a great filler to help balance things out. Not only will this cause the grass to grow nice and thickly, you’ll get the fringe benefit of killing weeds.

There are no manures of other smells to contend with so fertilizing time will not menace your family or neighbors.

With 25 pounds you can cover 5000 square feet. Keenly priced, Safer Brand offers quality without overcharging.

It’s a fertilizer which works very well on all types of grass so if you have been let down with other attempts at feeding your lawn, consider this plant fertilizer. Safer Brand might just deliver where you have been previously let down.

Conclusion

We will look at more facts about fertilizing in a coming article.

Hopefully you can analyze your needs and preferences. One of the above 5 best fertilizer for grass should solve your maintenance needs once and for all.

Once you have found the feeding program that gives best results then stick with it. The only challenge is making sure that you keep to the schedule and in turn mow the lawn regularly to really get the very most from your garden.

Explore the rest of our site for many handy pieces about all aspects of gardening.