Thursday, September 27, 2007

To insecticide or Not to insecticide, that is the question.

Actually, it's not much of a question at least, not with a large collection of plants such as we have. Growing so many different genera and species of plants in such a relatively small space isn't natural in and of itself. As a result, in our situation, it's pretty much a necessity to use insecticides in order to have a healthy population of plants.

It's not a job I enjoy, but somebody's got to do it. The key is what to use and how to use it effectively so as to not have to do it more often than necessary. And to do it safely. We use a systemic in order to have a longer term effect without having a long term residual presence on the plants or in the soil.

What are the primary beasties we're after? The usual culprits: Mealy bugs, scale (though we almost never encounter these), red spider mite and fungus gnats (an occasional nuisance). Good cultural practices (adequate air circulation and proper watering for example) can reduce the incidence of these pests, and botanical and certain household remedies will often be adequate with small collections. But we outgrew that point a long time ago!

Soooo, if you don't see or hear me for a while, I'm that guy with the mask and gloves and long sleeves and a big sprayer pack on his back.


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