Trust us, you never want grasshoppers anywhere near your home. They’re arguably the most destructive pest you can have in your lawn or garden, capable of undoing all the time, effort, and money you’ve invested in your outdoor space in a matter of hours.
For context, grasshoppers commonly eat 50% of their weight in a single day, with studies showing that grasshoppers eat ¼ of the total available plant material in the Western U.S. Pretty, shocking right!? In fact, estimates indicate that only 6-7 adult grasshoppers per square yard on a 10 acre plot eat as much plant life as a fully grown cow.
Whether you’ve already spotted grasshoppers lurking in your garden or you simply want to make sure that never happens, the following natural tips will help you protect your precious crops and flowers from voracious grasshoppers and their infamous damage.
Floating row covers are essentially just lightweight rows of material gardeners use to shield their crops from weather and pest damage. As you might expect, these can help protect your flowers and veggies from grasshoppers, too. For best results, employ floating row covers starting in the earliest days of spring, just as the grasshoppers begin to hatch and emerge.
Made from fossilized sea organisms, diatomaceous earth (aka DE) is a natural pest control tool popular among gardeners. This highly effective, powdery insecticide is sharp and angular at the microscopic level, damaging any bugs that come into contact with it, causing them to die via dehydration.
To kill and repel grasshoppers, dust vulnerable plants and other high traffic areas with a light layer of DE. Then simply wait for it to take effect.
Laid near the end of summer, Grasshopper eggs persist in the soil through winter and finally begin to hatch in early spring. In addition to improving the health and productivity of your garden, tilling in fall and/or spring can help disrupt this cycle, preventing any of the eggs from producing more ravenous grasshoppers.
Used in much the same way as diatomaceous earth, salt-less all-purpose flour can be sprinkled on plant life to deter and kill grasshoppers. While DE works via dehydration, flour works by clogging up the grasshoppers’ mouth parts, usually leading to starvation.
Grasshoppers might eat a lot, but there are a lot of things that eat them. Welcoming natural grasshopper predators like chickens, guinea hens, and common lawn birds into your yard can substantially shrink an ongoing grasshopper problem. Installing bird feeders is an easy way to help this process along without purchasing any fowl of your own.
Frogs, toads, and lizards are also known to munch on grasshoppers. So If you have a natural body of water nearby or a lawn friendly to amphibians, introducing a few reptiles into your outdoor ecosystem is another effective approach.
Bottom line: The healthier your lawn and garden, the less vulnerable it will be to damaging pests, grasshoppers included. To kill and repel unwanted bugs—including harmful pests like ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas—spray your entire yard and garden each month with family-safe PCO Choice. We also suggest broadcasting Cedar Granules throughout your lawn and garden for additional natural pest protection.
Because PCO Choice is plant-based and pet-safe, you and your family can enjoy your lawn immediately after application. No downtime necessary.
No lawn & garden is complete or as healthy without butterflies. Not only can these beautiful pollinators help your blooming plants flourish, they’ll upgrade your yard into an overall more vibrant and biodiverse space. Here’s how to invite more butterflies into your lawn, along with the awesome perks that come with them.
Butterflies love sunlight and lots of it. And they have a good reason: without it, they’d become too cold to function and eventually die. It’s simple, unless you offer access to plenty of sunlight, you’ll never get a lawn full of these striking pollinators.
Adult butterflies almost only feed in direct sunlight, which means you’ll need to position your nectar plants carefully. Aim for a spot that receives full sunlight from morning to mid afternoon all spring and into the fall, not just during the summer.
Windy spaces are not welcoming to butterflies and their delicate wings. If your lawn and garden don’t provide an escape from daily gusts, butterflies are likely to skip over your space in search of friendlier feeding conditions.
Don’t fret, creating a little wind protection isn’t stressful and it won’t take very long at all. Simply plant or reposition your nectar offerings along a fence, a small line of trees, large shrubbery, or up against your home. Apart from flowers, a sunny basking spot shielded from the wind is arguably the most effective butterfly attractant.
Many gardeners plant dozens of visually appealing, aromatic flowers in hopes of attracting butterflies only to never see a single swallowtail or monarch. You know why? They choose the wrong types of flowers.
The key to enticing your state’s most fruitful and eye-catching butterflies all comes down to planting native flowers. Your local butterflies evolved to feed and seek out, not just any plants, but specifically the plants indigenous to your area—and those are the type of flowers you need growing in your garden. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a big help in this department; click here for a list of their native plant recommendations by region.
When selecting native flowers, make sure to consider a variety of sizes, colors, and types to accommodate a wide array of butterflies both small and large. Ideally, you’ll want to include a selection of plant life that offers blooms throughout the entire butterfly season, all spring through early fall.
Butterflies get a bulk of their moisture and nutrients from small watering holes called puddling sites. These mineral rich puddles are vital to any thriving butterfly population, which means you should really have one in your garden.
Thankfully, making a puddling site is super easy. Just sink a shallow dish or pan flush with the ground, fill it with coarse sand, and wet it daily or less as needed.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that butterflies and birds aren’t exactly the best of friends. When we attract the latter to our lawn via baths and feeders, we’re also inadvertently repelling our beneficial butterfly friends.
When removal is out of the question, moving these bird-attracting features farther away from your garden is still helpful. But just remember: the more birds in your lawn, the fewer butterflies you’re going to enjoy.
Old school, chemical-based insecticides threaten not only the health of our families and pets, but also beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. It’s a no-brainer—if you stick with toxic pesticides, you’re not going to have many butterflies gracing your garden.
Technology’s come a long way and now we have safer, smarter approaches for protecting our gardens from pest damage. Here are 5 butterfly-friendly pest control tips to get you started. To learn more, read “The Most Destructive Garden Pests & How to Get Rid of them Naturally.”
Common garden pests can transform your beautiful, productive garden into a wasteland in only a matter of days. If you’re not mindful of garden bugs, all your hard work, research, and time can go down the drain quickly. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the most destructive garden pests and how to control them naturally:
Small bite marks or jagged holes in your flowers and veggies in early spring? Slime trails? Sounds like you might have slugs or snails.
NATURAL SNAIL & SLUG CONTROL
Make your own snail & slug trap by filling an empty tuna can with beer (yes, they love beer, too) and burying it in your garden, flush with the soil, wherever you’re struggling with slugs or snails. Discard it in the morning and replace as needed.
A natural slug and snail pesticide can be easily made by mixing salt and water in a spray bottle. Go out in the late evening and spray any individuals you spot in or near your garden. As a precaution, rinse your plants with water the following day.
One last tip: Always aim to water your garden in the morning. This way the plants and soil will be drier, and therefore less appetising to slugs and snails, in the evening when both pests prefer to feed.
Caterpillar problems aren’t always easy to identify, but if you notice leaves chewed on the edges and caterpillar waste, which looks like small pepper granules (usually found on leaves), you could have one already.
NATURAL CATERPILLAR CONTROL
Planting oregano and thyme is said to repel caterpillars and help keep populations to a minimum.
Handpicking caterpillars might sound gross but it’s an effective way of getting a serious caterpillar issue under control. Wearing gloves, venture out in the early evening and remove any caterpillars you see on your vegetation. Then, simply drop them in a container of soap water and discard as needed.
Earwig damage (jagged, chomped leaves) is easily confused with other insect infestations, which makes seeing actual earwigs your best bet for making a proper diagnosis.
NATURAL EARWIG CONTROL
You can make your own earwig trap with repurposed newspaper—and it’s super easy. Just moisten a few sheets of newspaper, roll them into a tube, and place them near earwig trouble areas in your garden during the evening.
While they look super scary—large, threatening-looking pinchers included—earwigs rarely cause problems for people. But just in case, wear gloves when collecting the newspapers the following morning. Then, dispose of them in such a way that the critters can’t escape and return to your lawn or garden.
Yellowing misshapen leaves covered with sticky residues are a telltale sign of aphids. Clusters of small green, yellow, white, or black bugs on the underside of leaves and near plant stems is the most obvious symptom.
NATURAL APHID CONTROL
Strong bursts of water are often enough to remove aphids from your garden plants. The next time you’re doing your morning watering, just up the pressure a little bit and you should see a reduction in your aphid population almost immediately.
For larger aphid problems, applying insecticidal soap or a non-toxic, plant-safe insecticide to affected plants every few days should get the issue under control.
Signs of Japanese beetles are fairly obvious. First, you’ll almost certainly spot them flying around as soon as they become an issue. Second, you’ll notice brown, skeletonized leaves throughout your garden.
NATURAL JAPANESE BEETLE CONTROL
When it comes to repelling and killing Japanese beetles naturally, we got you covered. Check out our article on 9 Ways to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Without Harsh Chemicals