Landscaping For Pest Prevention
Part four in our pest prevention series
What you do with your landscape has a direct effect on the pest population attempting to enter your home. How you build it, and how you maintain it is a huge factor in indoor pest prevention. Your landscape is an insect and rodent magnet, it will attract them, or it will help to repel them, based on how you manage it, and the plants you have in the landscape.
These are some tips for the homeowner on using landscaping to prevent pest problems.
Avoid climbing vines attached to the home, especially around windows and other openings. Vines are like a highway for pests. They will work into tiny openings, spreading them wider, and allowing insects and arachnids to piggy back inside.
Shrubs planted too close to the home, or touching the home, allow pests to hide and also provide a roadway to any nearby opening. They should be kept at least one foot from the home, preferably three feet.
The mulch in landscape beds can hide a lot of pests. It also provides food sources for pests as it gets older. It can also be a source of fungus. It should be kept at least a foot from the home, preferably three feet.
Trees should not contact the home in any way. Tree branches in contact with the home provide a roadway for pests onto your home, and eventually into your home. They also may damage gutters and roofs. Poor pruning, or deliberate topping increases pest populations. Bad pruning practices cause the tree to produce unnatural growth that is poorly connected and susceptible to disease and fungus. It opens the tree to pests and disease that feed on the trees juices and provides hiding places for them.
Landscape Plant Choices And Pest Prevention
Your choice of plants to populate your landscape plays a very important role in preventing home pests. As a general rule of thumb, these should be native plants whenever possible.
Native plants for pest control
In fact, the single most important thing you can do to “pest proof” your landscape, is to build it with plants that are native to your area. Native plants will decrease your pest problems, lower your water and nutrient needs, and do a big favor for the environment!
Native plants, are naturally resistant to the types of pests you have in your region, and are already acclimated to your soil types, your weather conditions, and your seasons. Native plants are accustomed to the average annual rainfall in your area, and they won’t break out of your landscape and swallow the forests of your area.
Every year we see thousands of acres taken over by “non native,” alien pests. They destroy the native plant life and in doing so, destroy the biodiversity of the area. The cost is into the millions for controlling them, and we are just seeing the tip of the botanical iceberg.
Integrated pest management, should start with prevention, and the place to begin is with the right plants for your area. At the very least, you should avoid the use of anything that is known to be “invasive.”
Go native, and make your landscape and your world a better place.
Your areas native plants are:
- Acclimated to your temperatures.
- Accustomed to your areas rainfall.
- Accustomed to your seasonal changes
- Resistant to your pests
- They won’t eat the local forests or lakes.
So learn about the plants native to your area, and use them in your landscape!
See part 5 in our pest prevention series: Landscape Tree Care And Pest Prevention