Home Decor

Organic pest control

Naturally deter those unwanted animals, bugs and plants from your garden with these expert pest control tips.

With Ontario banning the use of pesticides in April, we chatted with Jill Fairbrother from Scotts EcoSense to bring you tips for using organic pest control methods.

Organic pest control #1: Animals

Creating a fencing barrier will help with animals like skunks and rabbits, but it’s not foolproof. Raccoons love water, so pools and ponds will attract them. Keeping garbage tightly locked away and water sources covered at night can diminish the attraction to your yard. Be wary of home remedies, such as placing moth balls around your garden. Common household items that are safe when used as they were intended should not be used around the lawn and garden. Better to choose a product specifically designed for the purpose and tested for safety.

Organic pest control #2: Bugs

Some plants have natural pest control properties: lavender will protect roses from aphids and radish will protect carrots from pests in the vegetable garden.

Slugs can wreak havoc on a vegetable garden. If you have hedgehogs in the neighbourhood, they’ll help keep the number of slugs and snails in check. Another option to control unwanted garden mollusks is Scotts EcoSense ferric phosphate-based pellet, which is safe for kids and pets and certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Choose an alternative insect control product made from extract of the chrysanthemum flower and canola oil to control insects at all stages.

Consider putting up a bat house, sold in many garden and home improvement centres. Bats sleep during the day and can consume up to a thousand flying insects a night. The pesky mosquito is a favourite.

Organic pest control #3: Weeds

Hoeing or hand-digging is an efficient way to get rid of weeds in garden beds and borders, and it’s great exercise. To keep your weeds to a minimum, use mulch. Covering your soil with two to three inches of mulch will not only help to prevent weed seeds from germinating, but it will increase moisture retention, reduce erosion and provide a beautiful finished look to your garden as well. Choose a multi-coloured mulch with the colour baked in so it is guaranteed to last all season without fading.

Weeds on hard surfaces, such as patios, walkways and driveways can be controlled by an acetic acid or vinegar formulation. Weeds in the lawn are best crowded out by overseeding in the spring and fall. Feed your lawn four times throughout the growing season to promote deeper root growth and more efficient use of available water.

Is your outdoor lighting eco-friendly? Find out how to illuminate your yard with three environmentally-friendly methods of outdoor lighting.

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First published in Chatelaine.com’s June 2008 issue.
© Rogers Publishing Ltd.