All About Landscaping Pests
Texas summers bring more than heat. This is the time of year when bugs abound!
But before you invest your landscaping budget on eradicating creepy crawlies, it’s important to understand the basics of pest management. EarthWorks is sharing these tips to help you understand why your landscape shouldn’t be bug free, how to ensure better plant health, and when to call the professionals.
Plant for Pest Prevention
Some pests affect the visual look of a plant but are not physically damaging. Fixing the visual appeal isn’t typically worth the time or money. Given the right strategies, the problem can resolve itself. For example, we’ve had calls before about tent caterpillars, which put a net similar to a spiderweb on trees. Rather than spray, simply poke a hole in the web, and wasps will take care of the caterpillars.
Similarly, it’s important to pair plants that can handle pests with those that need extra protection. For example, crepe myrtle and day lilies can easily withstand aphids, so we often plant those next to seasonal color like pansies, which aren’t equipped to handle common summer pests. This enables us to limit the use of chemicals and create a more natural approach to insect management.
Beneficial plants include:
- Blanket Flowers
- Tickseed (daisies)
Know the Root Cause
There are two types of insects: landscape pests and landscape beneficials. It’s important to understand what problem you have going on and what the root cause is.
For example, moles and armadillos are a common nuisance in Texas. They’ll burrow and make a mess of the landscape. They are a problem, but not the problem. The root issue is grub worms. You can spend thousands of dollars chasing moles and armadillos away periodically, or you can treat for grubs and the larger animals will naturally migrate to another area.
This is why it’s important to have a professional to determine the underlying problem. Sometimes the pest itself isn’t the issue, but a sign of a deeper concern that needs proper professional treatment.
Protect the Good Guys
At EarthWorks, we always strive to protect bees and beneficial pests. Fortunately, there are many ways we can do that.
Our primary strategy is to work with nature to keep a property’s ecosystem in balance. Beneficial insects help to keep the pests in check. By creating a varied landscape, staggering the ages of plants on a property, and pruning older plants, we create a system that attracts beneficial insects and is more likely to develop natural defenses against pests.
When we do need to lend a hand, we focus on chemicals that target specific pests. Thankfully, pest management has come a long way in 20 years! Many of the chemicals we use today work by paralyzing the feeding mechanism so the insect can’t bite into the plant. Bees don’t have this same feeding mechanism, so they aren’t affected.
Get to Know Your Backyard Bugs
It’s helpful to know which bugs to leave alone and which ones to fight off. Here’s a quick list of the most common insects we see in Texas.
- Braconid wasps
- Green lacewing
- Dragonflies & damselflies
- Wheel bug / Assassin bug
- Praying Mantis
- Bees & Bumblebees
- Spider mites
- Army worms
The truth is, a healthy landscape is going to have bugs. With the right balance, the good guys will outnumber the bad guys, and when your plants need a little help we have the right tools and strategies to give them a fighting chance.
If you’d like a complimentary assessment, or if you have questions about insect management for your property, give us a call.
Value • Integrity • Service • Quality
EarthWorks has the manpower to perform installations usually within a timely manner, even during the peak season. And with our staff resources we can prepare multiple sites for owner inspection or investor tours within a single day, even on short notice.