Originally published May 29, 2015.
It’s been a long time since north Texans complained about ‘too much’ rain, but we’re all getting there now. Ongoing downpours, minor and major flooding, waterlogged soils and suffocating humidity have all of us ready for a stretch of sunshine.
Or, rather: MOSQUITOES. Fearcasting about mosquito-borne diseases aside (yes, the threat is real) they’re a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad nuisance. We all know to eliminate standing water wherever we can (don’t forget drainage dishes, grills, and any little thing outdoors that can hold even a tablespoon of water). Did you know, however, that even the moisture trapped in leaves, mulches and organic matter under shrubs and decks is enough to host their larvae?
For standing water (ponds, birdbaths, etc)–use Mosquito Dunks. The active ingredient is Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria which preys on the larvae and kills them before they can mature. For the dark, damp areas under shrubs, around porches and decks, etc. –use Mosquito Bits. Mosquito Bits are considered an organic control that’s safe for wildlife, pets, and humans, but always use according to package directions.
*Note: Mosquito dunks and bits will suppress populations to come, but won’t kill or deter adult mosquitoes. For that, try natural cedar granules to broadcast in the yard, or BugBouncer essential oil repellents for your skin. We have a host of organic options in store.
2. Fungal outbreaks:
Waterlogged soils, warm daytime temps and relatively cool nighttime temps combined with high humidity = fungus paradise. Mushrooms are probably popping up in your garden, and those are rarely of any concern and can be removed easily by hand. But for the damaging fungal diseases on the rise right now, here are some options: Phytopthora species cause a number of issues, such as crown root rot. It’s especially a concern in compacted, waterlogged soils, and can manifest itself in a number of ways (Read here for more information). Other common fungal problems like Fusarium, Verticillium wilt, Powdery mildew, botrytis and pithium are on the rise, too.
Read more from the Texas Plant Disease Handbook here, and bring a stem/leaf sample in to speak with an NHG Garden Advisor to get recommendations on both synthetic and organic treatments.
3. Slugs and Snails:
Slime trails showing up around your place? Chewed leaves, holey stems and damaged produce a problem? These common pests love damp, humid conditions, and they’re out to make your garden into their own personal salad. Good news! Control is rather easy, and doesn’t have to be toxic: Sluggo is a granular product that relies on iron phosphate, which naturally occurs in soils, to kill slugs and snails. Diatomaceous Earth, or ‘DE’, is a fine powder composed of the silica deposits left from microscopic diatoms. It’s relatively harmless to humans and animals, but is like broken glass to slugs, snails and soft-bodied insects. Both of these are easy to use and sprinkle around the garden, and both are usable in and around your edible garden right up to the day of harvest. Bonus: if you’re also dealing with pillbug/sowbug problems (‘doodlebugs’ to some) Sluggo PLUS contains Spinosad, and organic compound which that help to control those and other common insects, as well.
If you’re struggling with these problems and you need help, come in and speak with our garden advisers to get the answers you need.