Gardening expert shares ‘natural’ pest control instead of ‘dumping chemicals on plants’

Aphids: RHS gardening expert gives tips for dealing with pests

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Pests can cause widespread devastation in your garden and containers, especially if they’re not controlled. While it may be tempting to use chemicals in your garden, it could damage the surrounding wildlife. Historic Greenhouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic, which is 83 years old, is showcasing its heritage and history at RHS Chelsea this year.

The company will be exhibiting its Greenhouses and Glasshouses which represent different decades in its business.

The company has worked with gardening writer Matthew Biggs to uncover some historic Greenhouse gardening tips which have been forgotten about and need to be remembered.

Some of the oldest gardening techniques can actually be the most effective.

Trying an old-school method could actually solve a plethora of common garden problems.

Matthew, who has been a professional gardener for over 25 years, said the 1990s marked the arrival of “biological control” for people gardening at home.

He recommended trying a more “natural” method to control pests like aphids and whitefly.

The gardening expert continued: “It is still something that not everyone knows about – especially if they are just starting out.

“Instead of dumping lots of chemicals on your plants, use natural predators to manage any pest problems.

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“This technique uses nature’s own controls.

“It isn’t particularly complex or involved – now you can buy predators online or from the garden centre and they are simple to manage within the Glasshouse.

“There are predators for aphids, whitefly, scale insect and a host of other pests.

“Use environmentally friendly solutions – let’s think natural!”

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This technique was also mentioned in the 1992 volume of The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening.

The book read: “Biological Control is another technique increasing in use and scope.

“Predators and parasites can be brought into the Greenhouse and placed among the crop to control such difficult pests as whitefly (Encarsia formosa) and red spider mite (Phytoseiulus persimilis).”

Some of the most common garden pests are aphids, slugs and snails and weevils.

Aphids often cause misshapen, curled, stunted or yellowing leaves.

Although your plant may not look like it’s being ravaged by aphids, they do like to hide.

Check the undersides of leaves as this is one of their favourite hiding spots.

A sticky substance on leaves and stems are a sign that aphids may be sucking sap out of your plants.

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