by Amanda Rose Newton
With so many of you out in your garden the past month, protecting what you have spent time and energy on is more important than ever. Florida provides its fair share of pest pressure, being the perfect mix of climate and year-round foliage that makes your home garden an ideal destination for insects and fungi alike. This month, Bonide is offering to donate 100% of the purchase price of their products to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund so you can protect your plants and help during this unprecedented time.
Below, we highlight 3 of our favorite Bonide products that are safe to use around your own home and in your organic garden
Scale, a type of true bug from the order Hemiptera, has a magnitude of different shapes and sizes and an equally broad range of plants its effects. Since the adult form is not mobile, small infestations can be effectively treated with an oil spray. All seasons oil, a mineral oil blend, adheres easily to their exoskeleton, which scales happen to rely on for protection and gas exchange. This action ends up suffocating them, naturally alleviating the problem without having to rely on harsh chemicals.
Gardening Pro Tip: Oil can also clog the “pores” or stomata of leaves, so make sure you are applying the oil only to the insects and not in the hottest portion of the day.
The name and the results of using this Spinosad-based insecticide are impossible to forget! Spinosad, a bacterial concoction, is another effective option that only effects insects- not pets, the environment or people. This means it is safe to use on veggies, fruits, herbs, and most ornamental plants. Spinosad tends to be one of the few chemicals that works on beetles and is a vital component of protecting citrus trees from leaf miners.
Gardening Pro Tip: Use caution when spraying around plants that bees and butterflies frequent as it is broad spectrum in the insects it effects.
Having just two letters makes it easy to remember and it is just as easy to use! Bacillus thurigenisis, a bacterium that has long been used as a biopesticide, harms only the larval form of insects that ingest it. Another safe choice for your organic and food gardens, it is effective against cabbage moths, tomato hornworms, oleander moth, and bougainvillea caterpillars. Bt also happens to be the chief ingredient in several popular mosquito control products and is quite effective and safe.
Gardening Pro Tip: Bt not only kills the bad caterpillars but also effects the good ones, too. Make sure to use caution when spraying in areas where pollinators congregate.
All these products come in 3 different forms for your specific needs: a ready to spray bottle, a ready to use hose-end attachment, and a concentrate to mix yourself. As always, if you need more specific directions and advice, consult the information specialists at Rockledge Gardens and be sure to register your product on the Bionide website to contribute to help Feeding America.