May 16, 2014 5:42 pm

Tips to get rid of unwanted pests in your garden

Watch video above: Tips for getting rid of garden pests.  Laura Zilke reports. 

TORONTO — Garden pests are out and causing their annual annoyances but there are natural, safe ways to get rid of them.

The May long weekend is affectionately referred to as the unofficial start to summer.

“There’s definitely a lot of people who are eager to get back out after this long and drown out winter” says Terra, Milton store manager Phil DiFlorio “…people are definitely getting anxious.”

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What also makes gardeners anxious – unwanted pests.

Large or small, dots of uncovered earth on a green thumb’s lawn is likely the work of a raccoon – one digging for a “delicious, easy meal,” according to the head gardener at the Toronto botanical garden, Sandra Pella.

To rid yourself of the small white larvae, means you’ll have to wait, until July or August.

Pella advises late summer as the best time to apply nematodes, because “they will feed on the insects in the lawn… and then the raccoons won’t eat them. ”

Cute fuzzy-tailed squirrels are also the bane of many gardeners’ existence.

There are several natural options for keeping squirrels out of your garden – many of which involve odours.

Staff at The Toronto Botanical Garden “interplant narcissus and daffodil bulbs and allium bulbs” along with tulips that attract squirrels.

“The ornamental onion smells bad,” says Pella adding the narcissus are poisonous to the squirrels, so they steer clear of them.

Terra Greenhouses gives much of the same advice, but also suggests using blood meal.

“It is actually a natural fertilizer – so it doubles and helps out your yard – rabbits and squirrels really don’t like the odour of it.” DiFlorio said.

Blood meal can also safely be used around tender vegetable plants but since it is a byproduct of slaughterhouses, it’s not agreeable to a vegan diet.

Another smelly and advantageous plant squirrels out of your garden is the marigold. It acts like blood meal but with the pom pom shaped flowers it also gives a bright burst of golden yellow or burnt orange to any bedding or border.

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