Biological Plant Protection: 10 Simple Tips with Great Effect

Gymnocladus Dioicus Poisonous Gardening

You don’t need chemicals to keep pests and diseases at bay. Most problems in the garden can also be solved with biological plant protection.

Rock meal is a great and above all biological plant protection, as it improves the soil. The resistance of the plants is strengthened by the minerals and trace elements it contains.

Biological Plant Protection

More and more hobby gardeners prefer organic plant protection, because “organic” is also an important topic in the garden. People consciously avoid chemicals in everyday life and buy goods of organic production and origin – be it food, textiles, cosmetic products or even plant protection products. We have put together ten tips for you that show how easy it is to implement organic plant protection in the garden.

Dusting Instead of Spraying

Organic plant protection products such as rock flour and algal lime are very popular with organic gardeners. The flours, sprinkled over the soil and lightly raked in, enrich the soil with various minerals and trace elements such as selenium or iron. Regular use of this biological plant protection increases the uptake of these substances by the plants and increases their resistance. If the fine powder is dusted directly over leaves and shoots, feeding insects, for example potato beetles or cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, look for other victims. Star soot on roses or celery leaf spots can also be prevented with it. Caution: However, too frequent application impedes photosynthesis.

Biological Plant Protection Through Beneficial Insects

If you want to protect your plants organically in the garden, you can’t do without beneficial insects. Useful insects such as hoverflies, earwigs and their offspring prevent aphids and other insect pests from getting out of hand. One of the most effective hunters is the ladybird. Offer the lucky beetles natural hiding places to overwinter, such as a “forgotten” pile of leaves. In spring, the beetles attach their yellow egg clutches to the underside of the leaves. The up to eight millimetre long, black, orange spotted larvae (“aphid lions”) consume up to 600 aphids, spider mites and young bugs during their development period.

Treat Powdery Mildew in the Orchard Biologically

Powdery mildew is one of the most common plant diseases. The fungus mostly attacks cucumbers, courgettes and lettuce, roses and delphiniums. Apple trees are already infected in spring when they bud. Buds and young leaves look as if they have been powdered over with flour, and in cases of heavy infestation the shoot tips die. Those who want to implement organic plant protection in the garden should therefore either choose mildew-resistant varieties or, at the first signs, spray preparations with net sulphur several times at 14-day intervals (for example, “Organic mildew free”).

Follow the Instructions on the Packaging

If you value organic plant protection, you should not use organic sprays without hesitation. Please read the concentration, the recommended number of applications and the spraying intervals indicated on the package carefully and adhere to them without fail. This is especially true for natural plant toxins, such as extracts of Indian neem or the active ingredient pyrethrum, which is extracted from a certain species of chrysanthemum. Both substances also harm useful insects, such as butterfly caterpillars, bumblebees and bees, when they come into direct contact with them.

Biological Plant Protection with Homeopathy

What has proven successful in humans and animals is now also being used in the garden. If homeopathic remedies are used in biological plant protection, they can drive away pests and help plants to grow more vigorously. Calendula C 30 (6 globules/30 litres of water) is said to promote the root development of young plants. Ready-to-use preparations such as homeopathic plant elixir are also administered in the water, rose elixir stimulates the flowering of roses and is also said to help strawberries to produce a lot of fruit.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Boxwood Borer

An inconspicuous, grey-brown moth called the boxwood borer and its voracious caterpillars repeatedly cause owners of carefully trimmed boxwood balls and borders to resort to harsh chemicals out of desperation. Collecting the beetle caterpillars is only feasible on smaller individual trees. The pests are welcome protein food for tits and wasps, but in a real invasion they can hardly control the pest. You can achieve a reliable effect with Bacillus thuringiensis preparations (for example “Neudorff Xentari Raupenfrei”). The soil bacterium, which is harmless to humans, birds and most beneficial insects, causes the caterpillars to die within a few days. Application: Spray from the time the first caterpillars hatch, wetting the leaves and shoots well, including those inside the shrubs. 7.

Spoil the Appetite of Slugs and Snails

You can quickly fall behind in the fight against the powerful slime – but there is a plant protection trick that is purely biological: It is effective to lay out boards as a daytime hiding place and to collect the slugs regularly. Of course, this takes time and is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you spread slug pellets around endangered plants, you should choose preparations with the active ingredient iron-III phosphate. The bait granules act as a feeding stop and are harmless to pets, hedgehogs and slug-eating birds.

Green power: Plants Help Plants

Self-prepared plant extracts are often used as fertiliser – but the natural pharmacy also has some herbs that can be used in biological plant protection. When it comes to combating pests and plant diseases, each herb has its own speciality: comfrey prevents fungal infestation, chamomile protects vegetables, strawberries and ornamental plants from root rot. Nettle spray drives away aphids, wormwood fights blackberry mites and vegetable flies. Tansy is used as a watering agent and prevents ants from settling. Preparation of the broths: steep about 1 kilo of fresh herb in 10 litres of water for 12 to 36 hours, strain and apply diluted (100 to 200 millilitres to 1 litre of water).

Use Fleece and Nets for Biological Plant Protection

You can protect sensitive crops or young plants from late frost, heavy rain and draughts with fleece and close-meshed fruit protection or vegetable protection nets. They also prevent leek moths, carrot, cabbage or onion flies, cabbage moths and other insect pests from gaining access. However, this only works if the cover is applied immediately after sowing or planting. You must also make sure that there are no loopholes around the edges. Tip for covering small-crowned fruit trees and berry bushes: If possible, always use white netting; there is a risk of heat accumulation under black fabric. And: Only put the nets on when the blossoms are already pollinated and the first small fruits can be seen.

Trap Pests in a Biological Way

Traps equipped with attractants (pheromones) and adhesive foil catch male codling moths and plum moths and thus prevent the females from fertilising. Yellow panels attract the cherry fruit fly, and cherry vinegar flies are caught in cups filled with a catching liquid. These trapping methods can significantly reduce maggot infestation of the fruit. However, proper pheromone traps should not be hung directly in the endangered plants, but at some distance from them. Attractant traps – for example for the boxwood borer – work best as an indicator to show the beginning of the moth flight. In this way, depending on the pest species, the optimal control date for the caterpillars can be determined.

Jonathan Harvey
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