Most landscape professionals have design and aesthetics in mind while creating a landscape design. A few landscape designers also keep irrigation needs in mind while designing a project. Very few landscape design professionals pay any attention to designing pest control into the landscape.
This is unfortunate, since having a good landscape design is important in pest control as well as in the overall look of your home, and it will save time and money in the process of maintaining the lawn and landscape throughout the life of the design.
So, just what would a landscape design that incorporated pest prevention practices into the design look like? There would probably be a few changes as far as the types of plants chosen for the design, placement would be altered a good deal, but otherwise, would be barely noticeable. There are very few aesthetic differences.
While I can not give you a picture of the landscape (they will be different in each area and with each design), I can suggest the best practices for achieving a landscape design that does a good job of keeping pests out of the picture. Most landscape designers have good practices for green pest control by nature, but some do not, and all should begin to use the practices listed here.
Pest prevention in landscape preparation
- Start with native plants. They attract fewer pests than exotics, and have natural abilities to deal with the pests in your area. Native plants also encourage native birds, and the presence of native birds will further decrease the number of insect pests.
- Carefully attend to the soil preparation before planting. When using native soil, “solarization” may be the best way to get rid of ungerminated weed seeds in the soil before planting.
- Use weed barrier cloth and do as little damage as possible to it when planting. Each opening increases the possibility of weeds breaking through.
- Be certain that all beds are raised slightly, and have good surface drainage. Standing water invites pests and diseases.
- Keep mulch at least 1 foot away from the home.
- Keep plants at least 1 foot away from the home.
- Put coarse sand or fine gravel barrier a few inches deep and a few inches wide around the foundation to discourage insects, especially termites.
- Don’t plant vines in a place where they will climb on the walls of dwelling structures.
- Design to keep tree limbs from contacting the home. If you are planting young specimens for future shade, take into account the size of the full grown tree before you place it.
Pest Prevention in lawn preparation
- Use a grass native to your area if at all possible. Native grasses are resistant to your native pests, and are better able to handle the pests that do come around.
- Soil preparation is a key factor in pest control and prevention. smooth level surfaces over carefully tilled and well prepared soils with plenty of organic matter will make for healthier lawns. Healthy lawns are far less susceptible to pests than those weakened by poor soil quality.
- If possible, “solarize” the lawn area to germinate and kill all the weed seeds present in the soil before planting or placing the grass.
- Be sure that the surface drains correctly with no low spots to hold water. Low spots in lawns invite fungus, mosquitoes and other pests.