For residents in Northern Virginia, there are a host of potential garden pests, which include insects, mold, bacteria, viruses, weeds and animals. Managing these variety of pests often requires multiple approaches, as there is no one size fits all product that can eliminate every potential pest to the gardener in Northern Virginia. One solution that many gardeners turn to is finding environmentally friendly pest control. There are several options when it comes to being eco-friendly, relatively pest free, and successful in Northern Virginia gardening.

Integrated Pest Management

The first step to take towards any pest management routine is to fully understand the environment of your garden and surrounding area. No matter if it is a small kitchen garden, or a large field of mixed vegetables, it is important to evaluate not just the gardening patch but the surrounding area. In integrated pest management, the goal is not necessarily to completely eradicate the pest, but to change factors in the environment to help discourage their presence. Integrated pest management also includes using more than one pest management tool, such as adjusting the environment, adapting more attentive gardening habits, introducing and/or encouraging natural enemies of the current pest/pests and sometimes using chemical-based or green pest control products. A multi-faceted approach to pest management can help reduce the environmental impact of gardening, while still successfully growing non native plants.

Methods Involved in Eco-Friendly Pest Control

When possible, not using any form of artificial pesticide is best. In order to this though, it may require a more hands on approach. When tending your garden, the easiest way to remove larger pests is by hand. Either squishing them, or keeping a jar with water close by to drown them. Dedicated pruning is also important in green gardening. Any sign of damage to the plant should be removed, such as infected or infested leaves and stems. Plants should also be set with proper poles and cones to ensure that items such as tomatoes and beans do not get too close to the ground. Identifying the different pests that have invaded your garden and introducing their natural enemies, as well as providing a conducive environment for them, is another method that is used in conjunction with others. When the pests are much bigger, such as deer or other animals, using fencing and planting deterring bushes can be another form of environmentally friendly pest management. Mixing in naturally pest deterring plants into the garden can also be helpful as well with insects.

With proper environmental management and diligent tending, it is possible to fend off even the most resilient of pests.