If you are a homemaker, then I bet that one of your frustrations is pest management. You want to get rid of all those annoying creatures but you can’t just spray Raid all over the place whenever you want. Think about your family, pets, and of course yourself. You do not want to inhale all those chemicals when you squirt substances on mosquitoes, ants, spiders or even termites. Sometimes, the sprays you use won’t work too, and you’ll end up getting more annoyed because after you’ve just subjected yourself to noxious fumes, the bugs you want dead are still trudging along like nothing happened.
When you have a pest problem, chances are that you will probably need to use chemicals to knock the bugs dead. But you have many options, and if you choose to go the more eco-friendly way, you might want to try out creating your own pesticide using a very common flower – the chrysanthemum.
Why the Chrysanthemum?
The chrysanthemum plant produces a natural chemical called “pyrethrin” which is usually developed and incorporated in many forms of insecticides. The chrysanthemum species that contain the highest pyrethrin content is the Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium.
Lots of insects just hate the scent of chrysanthemums. So, you can plant them in your garden if you want to reduce the number of creepy-crawlies that are bothering you. The question here, you might wonder, is – “Is it safe for me to plant chrysanthemums?” Since these flowers contain natural pyrethrins, you should ensure that your kids and pets won’t be eating the blooms and leaves. Also, it takes a larger and more potent dosage of pyrethrin before mammals, including us, demonstrate toxic reactions. Still, always be cautious when handling this type of plant.
Creating Organic Chrysanthemum-Based Insecticides
So, how do you make an organic pesticide using chrysanthemum flowers? It’s actually quite easy. Here are two methods that you can try out.
1. Boiling Method
In a liter of very hot water, place 100 grams of dried chrysanthemum flowers. Stir until all blooms are drenched and then let it stand for 1 hour. Strain afterwards. You can put the liquid in a spritzer and spray on insects.
2. Dry Method
Harvest flowers in full bloom. Dry the blossoms and then grind finely. You can sprinkle the powder on pests or apply some on affected plants.
Always use protective gloves when handling the resulting fluid or powder from chrysanthemums. Though small amounts might not be toxic to humans, it is still best to be safe than sorry. The good thing here is that pyrethrins are very fat-soluble, which means that the substance will not accumulate inside your body.
What about the Environment?
One huge benefit of using pyrethrins from the chrysanthemum plant is that these quickly degrade when exposed to sunlight and high temperatures. So, these do not leave residues that are harmful to the environment.
When All Else Fails
Pyrethrins are considered as broad-range pesticides. This means that you can use such substances to kill many kinds of insects. However, if you think that your bug problem is too big for you to handle, it’s better to get in touch with pest control experts.
- License: Creative Commons image source
The article is by Claire Brent, a freelancer and a concerned homemaker, who regularly blogs about organic cleaning agents and pesticides. Learn more about eco-friendly pest management here.
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Shrubs are considered as the backbone of a great-looking garden. They lend a pop of color and texture to the space by producing attractive flowers and foliage and interesting shapes year-round. Although shrubs require less work compared to other plants and are actually hardy in nature, they nevertheless need constant care to stay in tip-top shape. So, if you’re tending to shrubs in your garden, here are some useful tips you can use to give them the tender loving care they need.
Inspect and prune
Like other plants, shrubs are susceptible to diseases, which is why it is important that you regularly look after them to keep diseases at bay. Inspect your shrubs for dead, diseased and damaged stems, crossing branches and overgrowth. Then, prune these problem parts as they can invite and transfer diseases to other plants. Shrubs that produce several shoots from the ground require the removal of older ones from time to time to allow better growth and produce strong young shoots. Mushrooms aren’t usually a cause for concern unless they’re growing in clumps near the trunks of shrubs. In such case, they can be an indication of root rot or decay so watch out for them while doing your inspection.
Get the soil tested
Every fall, it is best to take samples of your garden soil for nutrient analysis. This way, you will know if there is an imbalance in your lawn and be able to feed the soil with the right amount of fertilizer. For instance, if the soil where your shrubs are planted shows nutrient deficiency, it will be wise to use slow-release fertilizer over the soil during winter, so that the nutrients will be released by spring.
Cover with mulch
To insulate your shrubs and give them enough time to grow and improve their ability to take sufficient amounts of water and nutrients, cover their soil with organic mulch. Over winter, mulch serves as a protective layer that reduces shrub root drying and also helps improve the structure of the soil.
Proper distribution is important when applying mulch. There should be no mulch right at the stems of the shrubs, and you should gradually increase the application from 1 to 2 inches thick as you go along the shrubs’ drip line or their crowns’ outer projection. Resist the urge to pile a large mound of mulch at the base of the shrubs. If you do, the mulch will trap too much moisture which can cause rotting and disease.
Keep pests at bay
Some pests are attracted to shrubs, attacking them especially during spring and summer, and they can still cause a problem even as the weather cools. If you suspect that your garden shrubbery is infested, consider calling a professional for an assessment so as to prevent the pest from attacking other plants and for you to get the right solution to the problem at hand.
Shrubs need to be transplanted or repotted to give their roots more space to grow. Hence, consider doing this to promote growth and let your shrubs have a better environment where they can absorb moisture and nutrients.
Fall is usually the best time to transplant shrubs because the plants do not support too much leaves and will permit their roots to grow. However, you must also be careful when transplanting during this season as there are some shrubs that don’t like to be moved during winter. Before you transplant anything, do a research first about these fall planting hazards as you might have some of them in your garden.
Shrubs that are exposed to high winds, too much sun or salt should be protected to avoid injuring them. Hence, wrap their trunks with burlap trunk wrap or paper before winter sets in. You can also create a windshield by placing stakes into the ground and attaching the burlap to the poles. By early spring, before the shrubs start to grow, you should remove the coverings so as to avoid damaging their branches.
If, in the past, you’ve encountered branch break due to heavy snow loads, consider tying your shrubs with twine. Start on a low branch then move upward, gently folding the branches. This is highly recommended for delicate shrubs.
The guest post above was penned by Ericka in behalf of www.mcintyremasonry.co.uk Ericka is passionate about gardening and home improvement, inspiring her to write useful posts about these two subjects.
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When it comes to your outdoor space, regardless if it is a small patio, an expansive lawn or a midsize garden, it’s not enough that you just outfit it with furniture, plants, structures and paths. Equally important is to integrate lights to the landscape.
There are some good reasons why you should do such improvement. First, outdoor lighting ensures footing at night by giving you and your visitors the ability to see where you’re headed to–on a winding path, down a flight of stairs, from the gate to the front door–thereby keeping you from physical injury. Second, it gives an added layer of security by deterring trespassers or intruders from breaking into your home. Third, it can make your outdoor space sparkle at night and take on a different aesthetic, making it more inviting to stay in. With all these benefits, it is only fitting to have lights installed in your outdoor space. Below are some useful tips you can follow to successfully add lights to your landscape.
To make your outdoor space come alive at night, a combination of two or more types of light should be used. For instance, bright, standard lights can be used to illumine posts around your garden and can also help repel intruders since they emit a strong light. Low-voltage lights, on the other hand, can be used on walkways and the main seating area as they cast a mellow light that is not too glaring for entertaining guests and traversing a path.
A good lighting design for the outdoor space should be dynamic. And this can be achieved by not lighting all the areas equally. That is, think of the important zones in your garden that you need to see first, then second. Prioritize your lighting levels according to the function of the area. This will not only help make the space appear more lively, it is also a good way to efficiently use lights.
When it comes to outdoor lighting that doesn’t mean you have to settle with the conventional fixtures that cast either white or yellow light. To further enhance the night time beauty of your garden, try using colored lights sparingly. For instance, you can use them to emphasize the shape of a shrub, tree or bed of flowers by installing the colored lights at a fence or a wall from close behind the plants. It won’t be difficult to find such fixtures as they are popular these days. Most of them even come in energy-efficient models, allowing you to save on your electricity bills.
Don’t forget safety
Unless you would be using solar powered lights, you’ll need a convenient power supply to hook the lights into. In such case, don’t take the risk of installing special waterproof outdoor sockets on your own. Instead, hire a qualified electrician to do the job for you. You may also ask the electrician to cover power cables with armored ducting to avoid accidents. If a transformer will be used to run low-voltage lights, house it in a waterproof casing or bring it inside the house so as not to expose it to water or moist.
This advice was provided by Robert for www.steelbuildingsuk.co.uk. Robert has been writing good content for those seeking practical tips and advice for gardening, lawn care, and other home improvement-related subjects. Follow Robert and learn more from his works.
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