Plant Problems - Soil Borne Insects
Treating your plants for soil borne insects can be problematic. We are not
aware of any safe chemical insecticides, available to home gardeners, for
either indoor houseplants, or outdoor plants.
As a result, soil borne insect problems, are treated with control and avoidance
methods, versus chemical controls.
Soil Borne Insect Control for Houseplants:
Soil borne insect houseplant problems, can be difficult to control. Here
are some ideas which may help:
Many soil borne insects prefer moist, damp soil and do not survive in dry
soils. Allow the soil to dry out as much as possible. If possible,
allow the soil to dry out up to the point that the plant begins to wilt.
Repot affected plants. If the plant is small, remove it from the container,
along with as much soil as possible, without damaging the roots. Then, replace
in new, sterilized potting soil.
Flush the soil with lots of water to drown the insects. If the pot is small,
immerse the pot in a bucket of water a half hour or more. Remove from the
water, and make sure to drain well.
Be alert to air borne insects. Often, they spend some of their life cycle
on or in the soil.
Examine new plants before purchase or bringing indoors. Quarantine new plants.
If temperatures allow, place them in and enclosed porch, in the garage or
a separate room for several days. Watch closely for signs of insects.
Soil Borne Insect Control for Gardens:
Similar to the battle against indoor soil borne insects, we are not aware
of any safe chemical treatments for outdoor problems. And, you wouldn't want
any harmful chemicals in your vegetable garden anyway.
Try these ideas:
Manage visible, insect populations. Some of these insects, may spend time
in the soil.
There are good and bad insects. Buy and encourage friendly insects, like
Lady Bugs and Preying Mantis that feed on the bad insects.
Buy nematodes. There are nematodes that eat plants, and those that attack
only insects. Stores sell the friendly nematodes.
Remove affected plants and root system, from your garden.
Plant susceptible plants in another area of the garden.
Many soil borne insects do not thrive in dry soil. Allow the soil to dry
out as much as possible.
Promote strong, healthy plants, which are more capable of fending off insect
Gardening Tip: Friendly nematodes are introduced to your garden, via
a spray application. Apply near dark, as nematodes are killed by sunlight.