Garden Bugs & Diseases
There are no “good” diseases in the garden. No garden is immune. If untreated, diseases could wipe out your garden, your houseplants, and even jump the fence into your neighbors garden. Sometimes, diseases can live in your soil over winter and come back to haunt you year after year. Take control by properly diagnosing and managing the outbreak. If there’s a concern in your garden, careful bringing samples to your local garden centre for diagnosis. The #1 best course of action is to bring in detailed photos or at least contain a sample in a closed ziploc baggy so it won’t spread to the greenhouse. Once identified, there are chemicals or other practices that can treat the problem. Prevention will always help deter disease in your garden. Keep a clean garden, sterilize tools, and detect trouble early.
This is the most common disease in your garden because it reproduced through spores… airborne. This means it can transport by wind, animals, humans, etc. Fungal diseases looooove warm, dample, and shady areas.
- Powdery Mildew | A white film that develops on the foliage of the plant.
- Black Knot | A mass that develops on branches.
- Black Spot | Black spots that develop on foliage.
- Rust | rust coloured spots that develop on foliage.
- Root Rot | targets the roots. Commonly caused when roots are exposed to standing water.
- Botrytis Blight |
There are many ways to treat and prevent fungal disease:
- Prune the infected areas if it’s on a plant, like black knot. Be sure to clean tools before and after to avoid spread. Bag and dispose of infected plant material.
- Fungicide | Always follow manufacturers directions
- GREEN EARTH GARDEN FUNGICIDE: Controls powdery mildew, rust, black spot and other garden diseases. This product also controls certain mites. Use on roses, flowers, ornamentals, vegetables and small fruits. This product contains 0.9% sulphur
- GREEN EARTH GARDEN SULPHUR: Controls powdery mildew, rust, black spot and other garden disease sand also controls certain mites. This product can be used on roses, flowers, ornamentals, vegetables and small fruits. It can be applied as a dust or wettable powder spray
- SUMMIT CLEAR WATER BARLEY STRAW BALES: An organic way to control algae in ponds. Each mini bale treats up to 1000 gallons of pond water. Allow one month for product to become effective, replace every six months.
- GREEN EARTH BORDO COPPER: Can be used on fruit trees, ornamentals, vegetables, and flowers. It controls leaf spots, blights, anthracnose, downy and powdery mildew, black spot, and molds on fruits. It readily mixes in water for spray application.
- SAFER’S DEFENDER GARDEN FUNGICIDE: Contols black spot, powdery mildew, and rust on plants. Contains 12% Sulphur
- GREEN EARTH DORMANT SPRAY KIT: Kills over-wintering insects, insect eggs and diseases on fruit trees, roses and ornamentals. Use in early spring before buds open. This product is effective for the control of scale insects. It contains 500 ml of horticultural oil and 1L of liquid lime sulphur.
- Mulch | Avoid thick mulch. Mulch should only take up a couple inches. Too thick, and you can invite fungus to develop. Again, think about warm, damp, and shady areas.
These types of diseases are basically untreatable, so prevention is super important. Especially in veggies, there are many plant varieties that are resistant, like scab-resistant potatoes. Also, look at rotating your crops to ensure your plants are getting proper nutrition and keep healthy. Pruning can help, as well as keeping the leaves, fruits, and stems dry when watering.
- Fire Blight,
- Soft Rot,
Treatment for this is the easiest of all the diseases as it usually requires things like moving the plant for better sun exposure, or adding more nutrients like calcium to tomato plants. A very common physiological disease is blossom end rot which is seen in the photo below. This commonly occurs in tomato plants and it’s a sign that the plant isn’t receiving enough calcium. It’s easy to treat though, with a calcium enrichment product.
- EVOLVE ORGANIC CALCIUM ESSENTIALS PLANT FERTILIZER: A great blend of ingredients for all of your indoor and outdoor plants. The addition of Macronutrients(Phosphorous) as well as micronutrients such as 1.4% Calcium are a must for every plant especially fruit and vegetables. This product is to be used along with your regular fertilizing program.
- EVOLVE ORGANIC CALCIUM ESSENTIALS 1-1-2: Plant Fertilizer is a must fertilizer additive for every plant. This product eliminates blossom end rot in tomatoes. It contains 20% calcium and 12% sulphur for scab in potatoes.
As Colin said, bugs, both good and bad, are inevitable. The garden is a living ecosystem going through constant change. One of the great things about bugs, is how they reflect the overall health of your garden. A spiders web can indicate what kind of bad bugs are hanging around. An increase of lady bugs may indicate an aphid infestation. There are loooots of products on the market that you can use to control pests, however, there are also more natural solutions that just as, if not more effective. Today, we’re focusing on the bugs that impact your garden, so this list won’t include pests like ants or wasps or mosquitos. They don’t harm the garden per say… they just annoy us to no end lol. But let’s take a look at some of those garden bugs now.
Bad bugs are those that will harm your plant. They may deplete the sugar of a plant, lay eggs in it’s leaves, or chow down and weaken a plants structure.
- What they look like: Tiny and moves very slowly. Usually appears in groups. Green, black, yellow, or even wooly coloured.
- What they Do: Feeds on plant juices and leave a sugary trail for ants and wasps.
- What they Cause: Leaves will turn yellow, curl, or become misshapen. They will make the plant more susceptible to pathogens.
- Common Predator: Ladybird Beetle
- Control Product: Trounce
- Live Insect Control Options
- What they look like: Small red spider that moves very fast.
- What they Do: Live on the underside of leaves and feeds on chlorophyll.
- What they Cause: Damage will cause white spots on leaves, weakening the plant.
- What they look like: Soft-bodied with little antennae. Sometimes come equipped with a shell. Leaves a sticky trail.
- What they Do: Chows down on vegetation and live in the damp, shady locations of your garden.
- What they Cause: Causes structural damage to the plant by leaving open wounds. Also attract critters like skunks and raccoons.
- Control Product: Slug B Gon
- What they look like: Tiny and develop a solid shell over the growing season to resist predators and most pesticides. Often appear in groups.
- What they Do: Sucks sap out of branches.
- What they Cause: Branches will dieback and weaken the plant. (See oyster scale crisis on Cotoneasters in Calgary)
- Control Product: Dormant Spray Kit (Used in the early spring as a preventative measure before the pest develops shell)
- What they look like: Like a cross between a ground beetle and a ladybird without the spots.
- What they Do: Targets lilies
- What they Cause: Extreme structural damage leading to death of the perennial.
- Control Product: Trounce
- What they look like: Almost like a caterpillar. They begin as a larvae and then develop wings while inside a cocoon.
- What they Do: Larvae develop wings in the soil. As adults they fly into the canopy and lay eggs inside the leaf membrane.
- What they Cause: Leaves will become infested and fall decreasing plants ability to photosynthesis. Overall health impacted.
- Control Product: N/A
- Live Insect Control Options OR Nemotodes
- What they look like: Thick worms.
- What they Do: Live in the soil
- What they Cause: Extreme structural damage to roots.
- Control Product: Grub Out
For a more detailed look at our control products, click here
Good bugs are often predatory towards the bad bugs in our garden. They’re garden superheroes and are the best indicators of what might be happening beneath the surface.
A gardeners friend. These predatory bugs will feed on aphids (at least 50/day!), mites, scales, mealy bugs, and more. They hibernate in the winter, so make sure you create a little next of leaves for them to do so. They’ll thank you in the spring!
Bad image, but so beneficial! By looking at their webs, you can get an idea of what bad bugs might be lurking in your garden. These predators will feed on many pests, so if you see lots popping up in your yard, you may have a bad bug infestation on your hands.
These quick predators are actually good for your garden! They will consume many pests, mostly soft-bodied ones.
These airborne beauties will target mosquitos, midges, flights, wasps, and more.
You know those cute, shiny, black beetles you sometimes see squirming on their backs in the garden? Yes, those ones! They are friends! They feed on mites, snails, slugs, aphids, and more. Sometimes called a ‘dirty pollinator’ as they travel along flower tops spreading pollen while looking for snacks.
These parasite lives in the soil and are a vast category that target specific pests depending on their species (1000+). They cause no harm to us, but will wipe out the toughest pests like leaf miner.
If you’re interested in exploring natural bug control, see our website
More Detailed PowerPoint Presentation | GA Webinars – Garden Disease and Bugs 2023
Encore Video Presentation | Coming soon