Reducing Pesticide Use in the Home Garden

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Environmentally Friendly Landscaping

Can we all agree that it would be a good thing to reduce the amount of chemicals that we put into our sensitive mountain environment? I think it would be a safe bet that most people when asked would say that they want to live in a clean environment. As with everything, we cannot control most big picture things but we can control what we do at home.

easter swallowtail butterfly

Is It Really A Problem?

Most leaf spot fungi on trees, shrubs and flowers are a nuisance in our gardens but do not harm plants. This means the use of pesticides is not necessary when we have some spots on our leaves. The majority of times plants will recover.

It is true that sometimes insects eat the leaves on our trees, shrubs and flowers. However many times these insects are actually really good insects. For instance Gulf Fritillary butterfly larvae feed on passion flower vines. Monarch butterfly larvae feed on milkweed. Learn more about butterflies and their plant hosts in NC State’s Butterflies Your Backyard publication.


Sometimes Medicine is Necessary
Most of us would not choose to take medicine if we do not have to. But, if we get sick enough, we may find it necessary. The same is true for plant diseases and some insect infestations on plants.
Home gardeners do not lose plants to plant diseases or insects very often. Sometimes though, we get excessively wet weather and plant diseases start to damage or kill our plants. For homeowners we recommend using environmentally friendly biorational pesticides

Learn To Tolerate Some Plant Damage

In an effort to avoid adding pesticides to the environment, I have learned to tolerate some insect and fungal damage on my landscape plants. I have also learned to appreciate the beauty of fungi and insects that we once considered pests in order to reduce my contribution to pesticides that are put into our mountain environment.

Eastern swallowtail butterfly