For the past several weeks, I have been referencing a homemade insect killer for patio plants that involves rubbing alcohol, neem oil and citrus oil. It was originally written as one of our weekly email tips. However, the question has come up so often in recent radio broadcasts, I thought it was worth noting that we have now applied it to the GardenLine web page as a permanent tip sheet.
This also makes it perfect timing to introduce another homemade, organically-based insect killer that was originally designed for landscape shrubs as a natural control for scale insects. The formula listed below came from our friends at Condon Gardens, one of the few, truly organic landscapers in Houston.
For years, when the issue of controlling scale came up on GardenLine, there never seemed to be an organic control available on the retail market. We have successfully fought back against scale for all these years with the synthetic chemical known as Malathion, and trust me when I say that it works against scale. And as far as I know, there still is not one pre-mixed, pre-packaged organic control ready to buy off the shelf.
However, several months ago I was sitting down trading ideas with J.C. and Carter over at Condon Gardens. Carter noted that had experienced great results with their homemade organic solution. While it works on scale, there are also many other insects in the landscape it can control as well such as -- lace bugs, red spider mites, thrips and aphids.
Before you run right out and buy the 3 organically-driven elements that make up this organic scale control, please make note of one very important aspect: These all need to be Agricultural Types. You cannot use the grocery store types of Molasses and Garlic Oil. I'll explain why in a moment.
Mix in a gallon sprayer:
- 1 ounces of Molasses (Medina & GardenVille Molasses are great examples)
- 1 ounce of Garlic Oil (Garlic Barrier is the most widely recognized)
- 1 ounce of Liquid Seaweed (GardenVille Liquid Seaweed is well known)
- Then fill the rest with water.
If you have an inordinate amount of insects, such as aphids or whiteflies, you can also mix in a couple of ounces of liquid Pyrethrum and keep the spray organic, but create an instant "knockdown" of heavy infestations.
J.C. and Carter at Condon Gardens both agreed that if you just use the mixture occasionally, not only do you keep any insects from generating damaging populations but you get some natural disease control on landscapes with the Garlic Oil and Seaweed. If you were wondering about the need for the Agricultural Types of the Garlic and Molasses, the reason is pretty simple: The Agricultural ones haven't been overly processed, and all the natural sugars and microbes etc. are still there and needed in the overall scheme of organic controls.
Obviously, you are not going to find all these products at your average garden center, especially mass merchandisers and big box stores. But there are many independent nurseries and garden centers that carry all of these products. In fact, even if the list below doesn't have any of the noted products on the shelves, they can easily order them in less than one week from the local distributors. These are just a few retailers that I know either carry such products or can get them for you in a matter of days. Again, just ask your local garden retailer if these are products that they can order for you, if you don't see a garden center near you on this list:
- Condon Gardens (Hammerly 2 blocks East of Wirt )
- RCW Nurseries (249 @ Beltway 8)
- Southwest Fertilizer (Bissonet & Renwick)
- Cornelius Nurseries (3 locations)
- ABC Country Store (In Katy, near Katy High School)
- Buchanan's Native Plants (On 11th St. in the Heights)
- Maas Nursery (5511 Toddville Rd. in Seabrook)
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
Be sure to check out Randy's event page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
And you can still purchase a copy of my new book
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8 a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.
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