Top 3 Autumn Garden Pests

Autumn, the season between summer and winter, is the time of the year when the leaves change colour. The sun’s heat mellows down and the days become more soothing. It is considered one of the most enjoyable times to engage in gardening.

Autumn is an excellent time for planting fast-growing herbs and plants, fertilising, pruning, and aerating. However, it is also the time of the year when pests become troublesome. While there are insects and animals that are beneficial to the garden, there are also some that are quite destructive. Control and eradication measures are necessary to keep your garden and plants healthy.

Some of the most common autumn garden pests are:

1. Aphids

With more than 4,000 species, these pests come in white, yellow, green brown, black, and pink colours. You can identify these critters through their pear-shaped bodies, a pair of abdominal tubes, and long antennae. The most prevalent species in Australia are the cotton aphid and the cabbage aphid. They attack fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals by sucking the sap from the plant’s vessels.

How to identify an aphid infestation

  • Unusual leaf drop or stunted growth
  • Curled yellowing or browning leaves
  • Presence of ants because of a sticky substance called “honeydew”
  • Presence of black spots, also known as sooty mold

Control Measures

  • For a minor infestation, you can prune the affected area and spray with homemade garlic spray or systemic insecticide.
  • For a severe infestation, the use of a more potent insecticide is needed — usually, sprays with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap are effective.

2. Snails and Slugs

  • Garden snails and slugs are a huge threat to garden plants. They attack seedlings, leaves, and fruits. The most common among their species are the brown snail and the grey field slug. They avoid the sun and are most active during the night. They thrive well in moist places.

How to identify a snail or slug infestation

  • Shiny silver trails on plants
  • Big holes on leaves

Control Measures

  • Use homemade organic sprays made of garlic and wormwood.
  • Create a snail bait with the use of beer.
  • Place copper tape around pots and garden beds.

3. Caterpillars

The cabbage moth and the cabbage white butterfly lay caterpillars that are harmful to cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflowers. They feed on the leaves or fruits of these vegetables.

How to identify a caterpillar infestation

  • Large holes on the outer leaves
  • Discolouration of the head of cauliflowers and broccoli

Control Measures

  • Use a vegetable mesh around your plants.
  • Pick the caterpillars and squash them.
  • Plant herbs with a strong smell such as basil, coriander, and sage.

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