Use low-impact pesticides as a last resort. Start by using cultural, physical, mechanical and biological methods.
These are methods that you can use to improve the growing conditions for your plants, including pruning overly bushy plants and using mulch, compost and natural fertilizers.
Physical and mechanical
Physical and mechanical control methods rely on the use of tools, equipment, traps, bait, physical barriers and hand picking to eliminate or control the proliferation of harmful organisms. For instance :
- pruning diseased or overly infested parts;
- spraying with water to dislodge aphids and mites;
- boiling water or a propane gas or infrared torch to burn weeds;
- manual, mechanical and high-pressure water tools to extract weeds;
- bait and traps to lure and trap slugs, earwigs and wasps;
- floating covers (agro-fabric) to protect cabbages from cabbage flea beetles.
You can use living organisms (insects, mites or micro-organisms) to control some insect pests. Spreading nematodes on your lawn can help limit white grub damage, for example.
Such beneficial organisms are commonly introduced by greenhouse growers, but less frequently by home gardeners. It is best to try to attract and protect those that are already present in our flower and vegetable gardens.