For those of you who just started gardening, you might find it surprising to find your soil that is all of a sudden infested with all kinds of pests. The reason for this varies from poor soil maintenance, low-quality soil, bad potting mix, and many more.
Regardless of the reason, garden or soil insect infestations can be prevented, and there are countless ways to do so.
But throughout this article, you will be learning the best and most effective ways to prevent insect infestations without disrupting your plant’s growth and development. We will be focusing on the natural ways on how to make your soil pest-free.
Why Is It Important To Keep Soil Pest-Free?
Pests are known to take away nutrients and deform your soil. Some insects also dig into the soil to eat your plant’s roots and even go inside your plant to feed themselves. Pests pose a large threat to your plant’s health, these insects are known to be nocturnal, which means that you might just find your plants damaged or dead in the morning, which is why preventing it is highly recommended.
Your plant’s health is heavily dependent on the soil as well. Healthy and protected soil can fend off pests and even garden diseases, which gives it a better sustainability rate.
One of the major advantages of keeping soil pest-free is that it does not disturb the microorganisms that are supplying your soil and plants with the necessary nutrients. Taking care of your soil helps these microorganisms thrive, which in return will continue the cycle of nutrients in the soil.
7 Ways To Make Your Soil Pest-Free
Not knowing how to deal with an insect infestation can be frustrating, and any mishap could further damage your plant or even kill it.
For you not to deal with all that struggle, I highly recommend you focus on preventing it rather than curing it. Now, without further ado, here are the effective ways on how to make your soil pest-free.
1) Choose A Good Location
Before you start placing your plants at your planned location, have a closer inspection to see if there are insects or bugs in the vicinity. This helps indicate that the location you are planning to place your plants may or may not be safe.
Without any inspection, chances are, your soil and plants might immediately get feasted with all kinds of pests! So, find a suitable place to settle your soil before you start planting.
2) Plant Cover Crops
Cover crops attract predators that prey on garden pests. While pests are attempting to attack your soil and plants, when the cover crops are terminated, the predators will proceed to the cash crop to feed on pests.
In return, your plants are protected, and you have helped feed beneficial predators that are harmless to your plants.
3) Using Mulch
Mulch alone brings tons of benefits to your plants and soil. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to look at, but it also adds more nutrients to your soil to keep your plants in pristine condition.
But focusing on how it keeps pests off is by improving the chemistry of the soil once organic mulches break down. This increases the number of bacteria that prevents harmful garden pests.
4) Rotate Your Crops
Plants that are close together and that are in the same family are commonly afflicted by the kinds of pests and diseases. This is because the nutrients, soil type, and soil structure are the same, which attracts the same kinds of insects and all sorts of bugs too.
Moving or rotating your plants to a new location will allow them to receive more nutrients and keep the pests away from where they were originally settled.
5) Add Compost
The same with mulch, compost is also great for the soil. However, green compost can attract insects that are harmful to your plants. To protect your soil and plants from pests, add brown organic materials as well to discourage pests from coming to your plants.
6) Place Insect Traps
Insect traps are effective to keep off pests from reaching your plants. Pests will most likely go for the trap instead of your plants because of the strong scent it gives off to pests that will attract them to fall for it.
7) Limit Disturbance
Do your best to not disturb your soil as much as possible. Turning your soil on a frequent basis can lose the surface of the soil, which makes it easier for pests to infiltrate your soil and to the plant’s roots. This can cause soil erosion and compaction as well, so keep that in mind to secure your soil’s hardness defense against insects.
Are Pesticides Good For Soil?
Uncontrolled applications of insecticides or pesticides will contaminate your soil and most likely kill the microorganisms in your soil, and even your plant. These are very essential to both your soil and plant’s health, which is why it is best to go for natural options rather than chemicals that might do more harm than good to your soil and plants.
Below are three maintenance tips that help naturally fend off pests, but solely depending on these is simply not effective.
Following these tips and using one or two of the ways above is the best combination to keep pests away from your soil.
Check Your Garden Regularly
Even though you have inspected the location before you placed your plants, there is still a chance that pests might appear afterward. So, to make sure if there really is any, check your garden regularly or better yet, add insect traps for better prevention.
Removing fallen leaves and excess weeds is recommended as well since pests might be hiding underneath them.
Clean Your Soil
Of course, you have to clean your soil regularly. Healthy and fertilized soil prevent the attraction of pests in your garden.
Attend To Your Plant’s Needs
Watering your plants, giving them sufficient sunlight and air are very important. This helps you monitor your soil as well if there are any pests or ants barging in.
Final Thoughts On How To Keep Your Soil Pest-Free
The main point of this article is that keeping your soil healthy and adding extra protection to it will give your plants the security it needs against garden pests and diseases.
Back when I had no idea about how to prevent pests from infiltrating my garden, I lost many of my plants to them, which is something I definitely do not want you to experience. Any of the 7 ways above are extremely effective and will do the trick.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask below!