Disease, pests, weeds and the weather are all common issues that can have disastrous implications on your garden plants. Protection is key and requires a keen eye and a fair few precautionary methods. A key saying regarding plant protection is:
“Prevention is much easier than treatment”
Most importantly, your plants stand a much better chance of surviving if they are constantly monitored and maintained. Simple housekeeping such as regular weeding and clearing of plant debris will warn off unwanted competition for space and nutrients, as well as helping to avoid diseases and pests from making their way into your garden.
Insect pests multiply very quickly, can have disastrous effects on plants so require regular plant checks. Tell-tale signs of insect damage include eaten, distorted or discoloured parts on plants. If left to fester for too long, your plants may become weak and suffer from deadly growth of black sooty moulds.
Some prevention methods include –
- Where possible, elevate stems and leaves off of the soil by using tomato cones or an equivalent.
- Plant select herbs and flowers around the plants you wish to protect. Basil, sunflowers and marigolds have been known to ward off common pests.
- Set out pest traps – the two most common traps are sticky and pheromone traps.
- A natural, humane approach could be to introduce natural predators such as soldier beetles to your garden to ward off unwanted, harmful pests.
- Another approach you may consider is investing in a Hozelock Sprayer which can quickly and effectively apply pesticide treatments.
Diseases can hit plants at any point and some can be extremely difficult to treat. The best advice to help prevent diseases is to introduce good sanitation practises into your gardening routine. This should involve:
- Removing plant debris such as cuttings and fallen fruit and vegetables.
- Trimming away dying/unhealthy stems as soon as you notice them.
- Keeping on top of weeds.
Diseased foliage is best discarded rather than composted as to avoid the same disease/pest reoccurring next year. If you would rather keep it to compost it, then ensure it goes into a ‘hot’ compost bin to kill as much of the infected bacteria and disease as possible.
Weather can play havoc with all plants. Most commonly, plants can be ravaged by frost damage. Signs that your plants have suffered from frost damage include stunted growth, blackened and distorted leaves and tender plant leaves turning translucent. Commonly, plants that face the morning sun appear more damaged due to a quicker defrost process, rupturing their cell walls. Some prevention tips include:
- Avoiding high-nitrogen fertilisers in the run up to and during cold and frosty weather as it encourages leafy growth that is susceptible to damage.
- Bring tender plants inside or into a heated greenhouse during the cold weather.
- Try and leave pruning until the warmer weather returns, plants pruned hard in autumn will be at risk of the new growth being badly damaged by the cold weather. The overgrown foliage should protect the centre of the plant and take most of the brutal weather.
- Protect tender wall climbing plants and plants grown in open ground with fleece-covered frames or similar make-shift covers.