After a long day's work in the garden, the last thing a gardener wishes to discover are pests. Insects, birds and squirrels can devastate a garden by consuming fruit and foliage and spreading diseases to the plants. Many gardeners are put off by the idea of using chemicals to control pests and will instead simply tolerate the problem. Thankfully, there are many non-chemical ways to control garden pests.
One attribute all insects share is their exoskeleton. Keeping this in mind, borax (a naturally occurring mineral) can be sprinkled around beds and sprayed onto the leaves of plants. The effect on insects is instant dehydration. To decrease the overall number of insects in a garden, remove all rotting debris from the garden floor. Insects love to lay eggs in organic material, so they will be less likely to remain if there is nowhere to reproduce. Finally, with regard to trees, carefully inspect the bark, branches and foliage regularly; a healthy tree is much more likely to withstand and even ward off any attacks of burrowing insects.
Birds are attracted to fruit and will begin exploring gardens during the early blooming season. To avoid tempting birds with a summer snack, set up a bird net around trees and vines as the fruit is forming. For the more stubborn birds who still decide to venture into the yard, consider setting up sound emitters to scare the birds away.To continually scare the birds, rotate the emitters throughout the garden twice a week. Finally, for those birds who are no longer scared by sound emitters, and where law permits, a pellet gun is useful for shooting most species of encroaching birds.
The smartest of all garden pests, squirrels are typically immune to sound emitters and can crawl through or manipulate most nets. To keep squirrels away from the garden keep all trees trimmed so that the branches are at least 6 feet away from the ground, any buildings or any other plants. For trees, attach a 12-inch wide piece of sheet metal around the tree's trunk 6 feet from the ground. The metal will make the tree too slippery for a squirrel to climb. Finally, the most effective deterrent for squirrels is a predator. For those with large gardens or a severe squirrel infestation, consider investing in a squirrel-hunting dog such as a terrier or hound. Train the dog so that it too does not become a pest in the garden.