Preventing Whitefly Next Year

Establish Natural Defenses
Over the long term, a good anti-pest defense involves building up the soil in the home landscape and garden. Mulching is the easiest way to add organic matter to the soil. As the organic matter slowly breaks down, earthworms hasten the process by pulling the mulch materials down into their burrows in the soil, thereby adding vital nutrients and improving soil structure and drainage. Mulches discourage weeds and influence soil temperature by cooling the soil by 4 to 6 degrees. Mulches also keep soil from being splashed on lower leaves, reducing chances of disease from soil organisms.

Two to 4 inches of organic mulch should be provided to cover the soil all season long. The very best mulches are composted municipal sludge, mushroom compost, leaf mold, or commercial compost .[752 700] Next best is chopped leaves. Grass clippings are not satisfactory, because they tend to form a mat that resists water penetration. Bark_mulch [750 300] is long-lasting, but adds little to the soil around plant roots. Peat_moss [750 100] makes a good mulch as long as it’s mixed with coarser materials such as chopped leaves or shredded paper. Used alone, it tends to crust over and repel water.

Create Diversity
Besides building a rich soil base, it is a good idea to encourage the many insects and animals that normally prey on insect pests. These natural predators come in all shapes and sizes. While many are insects themselves, others are microscopic organisms, amphibians, or birds. The more of these different kinds of predators live in your yard, the fewer pest insect problems you will have. The predators will take up residence in a yard that includes their favorite plants and other foods. The greater the variety of plants on your property, the greater will be the variety of natural enemies of whiteflies that will be attracted to it.

Attract Beneficial Insects To The Yard
Lacewings and other predator insects will kill many more whiteflies than a homeowner armed with insecticide ever will. If you don't use broad-spectrum insecticides, you should have lots of beneficial_insects [722 300] such as ladybugs, green lacewings, and braconid or chalcid parasitic wasps-- all are great whitefly eaters

Feed Birds Year Round
Next to beneficial insects, songbirds consume the most pest insects in your yard. Gnatcatchers, kinglets, phoebes, and swallows are some of the common songbirds that eat whiteflies. Encourage birds to settle in or near your yard and prey on whiteflies by offering them food, water, and shelter.

see all questions...

Do you have a gardening question? Ask Nancy