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Natural Gardening Blog

Your Healthy Garden – pests to look out for and how to treat them

May 2019

Bug control in your garden

Ladybird feeding on aphids

It is impossible to eliminate pests from the garden entirely but if you have a healthy natural garden, which attracts useful ladybirds then insects such as aphids are unlikely to get out of hand. 

Plant-Flycatchers provide effective control of a wide variety of flying pests

BugFree* ready to use spray is suitable to use on a variety of vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants and is effective against a wide variety of sucking and biting insects, such as aphids, spider mites, cicadas, shield bugs, caterpillars and many more. 

For destructive pests such as vine weevils, which begin causing havoc as grubs out of sight below the ground, a watered-in nematode treatment such as VineWeevilFree Nematodes is the answer. This biological control kills larval pests, which are present from March – August, by injecting bacteria inside the larval pest‘s body, causing death. The nematodes will then eat the dead body, multiply, and immediately start searching for a new host. It is important to note that nematodes are not a preventative measure and will only work when the pests are present.

Our nematodes are simple to apply using either a watering can or Nemasprayer and do not need to be sored in the fridge. Always check the use-by date on the packaging.

To increase the number of beneficial insects in the garden install an Insect Hotel to provide a habitat for ladybirds, wild bees, mason bees, lacewings, sphecid wasps and butterflies.

Indoor plants also attract pests, they can find their way inside via an open window or they may have already been present on the plant when purchased, a simple and completely pesticide free solution is our Plant-Flycatcher. These handy yellow inserts feature an adhesive, odorless covering which does not dry out or drip, so can be placed anywhere in the house, even above a radiator. The bright yellow-coloured cards will help to control a wide variety of flying pests including white fly, winged aphids, leaf miners and fungus gnats.

Our wide range of pest control treatments provide effective protection without harming the delicate natural harmony in your garden, helping to create a healthy garden inside and out.

BugFree Bug & Larvae Killer* works with a natural active ingredient and is effective against adult insects, eggs and larvae.

Other troublesome insects may need controlling with a little extra help from a bug killer product. Look for products that are free of neonicotinoids, which makes them lower risk to bees. 

At Neudorff we make sure that our products, when used properly, do not pose any risk to bees. Our BugFree range includes sprays and a concentrate that are all Neonicotinoid-free and certified by the Organic Farmers and Growers Association. Each contains pyrethrum, a natural active ingredient derived from the chrysanthemum flower, and rapeseed oil, which kills mature insects, their eggs and larvae, ensuring long term protection whilst the natural balance of your garden remains. 

April 2019

Slug and Snail control

Protect your garden – without metaldehyde!)

We have nothing personal against slugs and snails – but when these greedy nighttime visitors pounce on lettuce, hostas and other prize vegetation it is time to take action. The good news is that you can do something about these slimy critters without harming dogs, hedgehogs and other friendly garden dwellers. Read on to learn how this can be done.

2) Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

To control these hungry pests apply Sluggo®® Slug & Snail Killer* or Sluggo®® Ultra*. Certified by the Organic Farmers & Growers Association and free of metaldehyde, the effective formulas quickly stop slugs eating quickly, causing them to retreat to their burrows under the soil where they die, leaving your garden free of dead slugs and mucky slime trails.

Sluggo®* and Sluggo® Ultra’s* rain resistant pellets contain the active ingredient Iron-III-Phosphate, which also occurs naturally in the environment. The pellets are biodegradable and any that remain uneaten will convert into iron and phosphate in the soil, delivering a bonus of added nutrients to plants.

Edible plants can be harvested immediately after using Sluggo® Slug & Snail Killer and Sluggo® Ultra, and both are safe to use around children and pets when used as directed.

FACTS about slugs and snails…

… Can eat poisonous toadstools with no ill effects

… Are related to clams and squid

… Have been on earth for approximately 500 million years

… Slugs can live up to 2 years, Snails can incredibly live to be 10 years old!

… Lay up to 400 eggs per year

… Are all hermaphrodites

Here are some tips to help prevent your slug problem getting out of hand:

Fence beds with a special slug barrier.

Water only in the morning, not at night, as slugs and snails hate dry soil.

Encourage the natural enemies of slugs and snails to make your garden their home: hedgehogs, birds, toads and shrews all love to eat slugs and snails – and won’t cost you a penny.

Mulch beds with dry materials as thinly as possible so that the top layer is just covered.

Loosen soil repeatedly to destroy their underground hiding places.

Do not overly dig soil in the autumn as slugs and snails are very fond of laying their eggs under freshly dug clods of soil – instead simply loosen with a garden fork.

April 2019

Healthy lawns – it’s this easy!

Enjoy your lush green lawn

Spring is the season to start giving lawns the boost they need in order to look good and stand up to the wear and tear of the months ahead.

Symbiotic association: mycorrhiza fungus on plant root

The secret to achieving a beautiful lawn isn’t actually a secret, and the good news is that it doesn’t take as much time and effort as you may think. The key is keeping your turf strong and healthy is to use the right products at the right time and by doing this it will naturally suppress moss and weeds.

Lawns are made up of a mixture of different grass species. New blades are continually forming and old blades dying  - this forms ’thatch’, a dense mass of brown, dry matter which makes the lawn hard and gives it a pale, unhealthy appearance. Raking or scarifying can remove it and allow air to circulate freely, but wouldn’t it make more sense to allow this ’thatch’ to decompose naturally into humus, thereby loosening the soil and simultaneously providing nutrients for your lawn? Besides, raking even small lawns can be hard work and time consuming.

Using a fertiliser that is packed with thatch ‘eating’ microorganisms will do the hard work for you. Dead and organic matter is a treat for the many organisms that live in the soil, however, our garden soils are often depleted of these organisms and really benefit from a boost. 

Organic CleanLawn contains a highly effective mixture of different freeze-dried microorganisms. Once in contact with water they are reactivated and get to work on the ’thatch’, breaking it down into useful humus via a natural process. The remains are broken into nutrients for the lawn meaning that you can rake less whilst fertilising naturally.

Like all the solid fertilisers from Neudorff, Organic CleanLawn contains natural mycorrhiza fungi. The mycorrhiza fungi attach to the plant roots and enter into a symbiotic relationship. They supply the plant with essential nutrients and water and in return the plant gives back valuable carbohydrates in the form of sugar. This way, the root system is greatly increased: it can grow up to 150 times larger! In the symbiosis with mycorrhiza, the lawn’s roots are able to reach and absorb additional water and nutrients in the soil. During a dry period the roots are still able to absorb water whereas in lawns without mycorrhiza fungi, the roots will have long been suffering from the effects of drought.  

Organic CleanLawn is suitable for use in spring, autumn and even in summer as it poses no risk of scorching the lawn.

March 2019

Tips for creating a healthy garden in 2019

The growing season is well and truly upon us, and creating a healthy space to grow is the best way to really make a start.

Begin by preparing the soil, remove any weeds and their roots by hand, if the area you plan to grow in has a lot of weeds use a glyphosate-free weedkiller such as WeedFree Plus. It is fast acting and long lasting against weed re-growth and treated areas can be re-planted after just one day. 

Dig over the soil, digging and turning the earth will expose any larvae from garden pests and the birds will happily take care of these for you! The soil is ready for sowing seeds directly or transplanting seedlings that have been grown under cover in a greenhouse or warm window.

Every time you grow something in the garden nutrients are removed, it is important to top these nutrients up year on year with a good fertiliser. For established gardens and container plants March is the ideal time to begin fertilising to provide an early boost to help make them strong and resilient. Organic Multipurpose Plant Food contains natural raw materials and all of the key nutrients, micronutrients and enzymes that plants need and can be used all around the garden.

If you plan to plant new plants this season consider adding varieties that will attract beneficial insects and wildlife to the garden; flowering plants such as roses, buddleja and honeysuckle make great choices, fragrant herbs such as lavender and oregano are loved by bees, whilst wildflowers provide a haven for all sorts of insects and wildlife. The birds, ladybirds and hedgehogs that are attracted by the plants will feed on the pests in your garden whilst butterflies and bees will pollinate plants. 

These are just some of the many tasks you can do to get started creating a healthy garden in the spring, for more tips for the rest of the seasons we have compiled our top 10 tips that can be easily implemented to achieve a healthy growing space.

10 DIY tips to create a healthy garden

1. Select plants that encourage beneficial insects to help tackle bugs naturally
2. Install a birdbath and feeder to attract garden birds
3. Remove weeds and their roots by hand
4. During slug season water in the morning to prevent damage from slugs and snails
5. Select weed, feed and control products that are gentle on the garden and wildlife
6. Use electric or battery powered lawn equipment rather than petrol
7. Make your own compost using garden and kitchen waste
8. Collect rainwater to use in the garden
9. Deadhead and prune regularly to encourage new growth
10. If you can, start replacing plastic pots for terracotta or wood

March 2019

Spring pest control

One of the first steps to creating a healthy garden is to get common pests in check. 

Preparation is everything when it comes to tackling bugs in the garden, some pests can be unpredictable, some remain unseen and others are just plain prolific!

Take slugs for example, just one slightly warmer, damp evening in March or April is all it takes for eggs to hatch and adults to emerge. Newly hatched juveniles are the ones to watch with ferocious appetites, working their way through prized plants and edibles. Slugs and snails young and old prefer the tender green leaves and stems so it is worth keeping a close eye on any young plants and vegetables that are growing and keep a stock of slug and snail killer so that help is always at hand.

Ladybirds are one of the best natural pest controllers to have around the garden, they will feast on sucking and biting insects such as aphids, white, green and blackfly, thrips and spidermites to a certain extent, but a good bug spray that works against a number a different pests, while carrying organic gardening credentials, will be a huge benefit to have on hand.

Then there are the invisible pests that cause damage beneath the soil too, the notorious vine weevil larvae, the small white grubs which grow into destructive beetles that are black in colour and will make short work of a plant’s root system, especially container plants. Nematodes are the best solution for keeping the grubs under control.

It is far too easy to pick any old treatment to get the job done but it is worth taking the time to consider what the wider effects are on the garden and wildlife. For gardeners who prefer to use alternatives in their garden to keep it healthy inside and out our range includes environmentally conscious pest control options for tackling snails, sucking and biting insects, vine weevils and more.

Stock up on pest control essentials to ensure you are ready for the busy gardening season ahead.

March 2019

Gardening is good for you

Gardening is officially good for you. Whilst gardeners have always known this, people of all ages and abilities are increasingly using it as a way to escape, relieve stress and to combat mental health challenges.

Our fast paced digital lifestyles are stressing us out but gardening and spending time outdoors has been proven to help. The combination of being out in the fresh air, concentrating on the garden, the smells, the sounds of insects and wildlife can bring fantastic therapeutic benefits, whilst planting, tending and watching the plants and vegetables grow in the garden is hugely rewarding.

Luckily we can now all take part in gardening without even having a garden through allotments and community and urban gardening projects, we’re even creating gardens indoors using houseplants.

We are also becoming much more conscious of where our food comes from and whether it is being produced ethically and how it is being treated when it is grown. One of the benefits of growing your own produce is that you know exactly how it has been treated, giving added peace of mind.

Our top products for getting started on your new vegetable patch

Sluggo® Slug & Snail Killer | With a preference for the tender leaves and salads, slugs can make short work of a fresh veg patch in early spring, use Sluggo® or Sluggo® Ultra to combat these slimy pests. Sluggo® contains a natural active ingredient that also occurs in nature and any uneaten pellets will convert into the plant nutrients iron and phosphate. The composition of the formula means no harmful substances will remain in the soil and the pellets can be used to control pests around edibles and ornamental plants.

Super Strength Cat Repellent | Deter cats from trampling new shots and using freshly dug soil as a litter tray with Super Strength Cat Repellent. The long lasting odour masks the territorial markings left by cats.

BugFree | Keep pests such as aphids, caterpillars and beetles in check using the neonicotinoid-free BugFree Bug and Larvae Killer. It contains a natural active ingredient and is certified by the Organic Farmers & Growers Association.

WeedFree | Tackle weeds before you start growing in your new vegetable patch. , WeedFree is glyphosate-free and is effective against stinging nettles, dandelions, thistles, chickweed, bluegrass, plantain and more. 

Organic Solid and liquid fertilisers | Our organic solid fertilisers are an all-round care system for plants; they include all of the nutrients which plants need. Each uses natural ingredients providing a trace element and enzyme rich formula.

VineWeevilFree | Vine weevil grubs are renowned for eating away at the roots of container plants including strawberries, so if your plants appear to be struggling, vine weevil larvae is a likely cause. Our nematode treatment can be simply watered into pots and containers. Use between March and August.