Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
What fall gardening tasks will help reduce plant pests next year?
Rate This FAQ
Many plant-feeding insects and mites seek out protected sites to spend the winter. Among this group of pests seeking a cozy spot in your yard are squash bugs, Mexican bean beetles, earwigs, strawberry root weevils, and spider mites. You can take action now to get a jump-start on pest management for the next gardening season. Here are some things you can do:
- Remove any herbaceous (annual) plant material at the end of the season. Do not leave old vines, plants, and annual flowers in debris piles. Compost or dispose of the plant material as soon as possible. The longer you leave the debris around, the longer many pests have to find a comfortable place to spend the fall and winter.
- Rototill your garden soil in the fall. This destroys many pests that can overwinter there by bringing them to the surface where they will freeze or dessicate.
- Plant a fall and winter cover crop such as annual ryegrass. The cover crop helps reduce weeds, retain soil moisture, and add nutrients to the soil.
- In the late winter to early spring, prune diseased and dead limbs from woody shrubs and trees. Wait until the woody plants have hardened off for the winter before pruning. Fall pruning may predispose plants to winter injury.
- Protect shrubs and other plants with winter-sensitive roots and crowns, such as rose, blackberry and grape. Place leaves, grass clippings or other type of mulch around the base. Winter injury will cause stress and reduced growth for cold susceptible plants next spring. This in turn tends to make these plants more prone to attack by pests.
- Continue to water your perennial plants through the fall. Although their growth is slowing and less water is needed, a water-stressed plant is more vulnerable to winter injury.
- Plan now for next year by keeping a record of garden plants and cultivars you liked best, those with the fewest problems, and pest problems that should be addressed next spring with dormant oil sprays (such as aphids, scale, pear psylla and red mites).
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- Why are my cherries wormy?
- I have an infestation of red ants in my retaining wall area where I also have plants. What is the best way to get rid of the red ants so I can weed etc. in that area?
- I live in Riverton, and have areas in my lawn that are brown and sparse. I planted the lawn from seed, a Kentucky bluegrass blend I bought from a nursery, at least 10 years ago. It grows well in cooler weather, but by summer it looks dead in patches and is stiff, not soft lawn for the kids to play on. I would like to put down some patch seed, but don't know what kind to use and how is the best way to plant. Do I have to take out the old lawn or can I just sprinkle it on and cover with a little bit of soil. Also, is there any way to control the wide leaf weed that grows throughout my lawn as well as the entire neighborhood?
- I have a lawn full of spiders. When I go to the flowers beds, probably a 100 spiders run out of the grass and bed. The spiders are about 3/8 of an inch long and dark brown. I would just like to get rid of them. What is the best approach?
- Last year my maple tree started losing leaves. I investigated and found it full of earwigs under the bark. I killed the bugs. The bark is falling off, Can I save my tree? It is over 20 years old.
- What's killing Spruce and Pine trees in Utah?
- My lawn is really struggling with the heat and drought. Is there a point when it just won't recover?
- I have a very large, beautiful Cottonwood tree on my property, that is near the property line with my neighbor. She wants to put in a new fence, because the tree has been pushing up the posts for her old fence. The fencing company has said that they can put in a new fence, but they will have to "shave off" a bit of the tree trunk and possibly some of the root near the surface of the ground. I am worried that something like that could lead to the tree getting sick or dying. I want to keep peace among neighbors, but it would be a disaster and very expensive to lose the tree because of something likethis. Can you please tell me if a Cottonwood tree is hardy enough to withstand such a "shaving" procedure?