The best way to control pests is to have healthy trees and plants. If they are healthy, usually pests do not invade. Having healthy trees and plants includes using the right soil for the plant type. Most of the work needed for pest control within the entire landscape is in soil preparation.
The next step to pest control is to plant the right plant in the right space. Plants won’t have to fight the frustration of their location (too small of an area, poor soil, too hot, too wet, etc.) if planted in the right space.
The third step to pest control is correct watering. Some plants need more and some need less. Be sure to find out what your plants need and water appropriately.
After all this, if pests still come, try to spray a few times in the spring before the pests become overwhelming. Regular spraying of the entire landscape throughout the spring months will help keep the pest problem manageable and can potentially diminish them enough to not have problems the rest of the summer. Depending on the type of pesticide you choose to use, you will need to determine the frequency of application. For example, organic pesticides can and should be sprayed more often, even weekly, and for heavy infestations daily spraying might be needed. For chemical pesticides, you could be endangering the life of the plant, so spraying should be no more frequently than recommended on the product, most suggest every two weeks, some say monthly.
Another option, and one more often recommended today, is to use natural pest solutions such as ladybugs and green lacewing larvae, which eat large amounts of aphids and other pests. The same goes for praying mantises, wasps, and frogs.
Look at using more natural options before spraying chemicals, which not only hurt beneficial bugs but also can hurt pets, children, and our groundwater – and thus our drinking water. And just remember, prevention is the best tool for pest control.
The common pests in Utah are: aphids, bores, beetles, mold, and abiotic issues (watering issues, poor drainage, and poor nutrients). Treatments include: insecticide (chemical or organic), systemic drench, spray fungicide, soil pep, gypsum, minerals, sulfur, compost, and iron. Determine the disease or pest that plagues your yard and find the right treatment by asking an expert at a local nursery, USU extension, reliable online source (look for .edu, .org, and .gov sites), or feel free to email me with your questions.