Managing Pests and Pathogens in Greenhouses

Managing Pests and Pathogens in Greenhouses

Managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses is an important part of the hobby, you have chosen to pursue. Many greenhouse owners tend to overlook this, but it is vital to plant health and pests if you are to protect your plants, your space and yourself from disease. While disease in plants may not be a life-threatening issue for most people, it can create many difficult times for the owner as well as the plants they grow. Learning ways of managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses can help you better protect your plants, your environment and yourself.

1. Understand the Cause

Controlling pests in greenhouses starts with understanding what causes them. Most pests begin to spread in greenhouses through the transfer of spores from one plant to another. Spores are tiny infectious germs that live on the outer layer of a plant and can easily be transmitted through the air or water that is present in a greenhouse.

2. Manual Pest Control

Manual pest control in greenhouses can be done by removing pests from the plants’ habitats. There are several reasons for pests to invade a greenhouse. It can either be caused by plant debris or by animals or insects. Plant debris such as fallen leaves, twigs, cut flowers, branches and soil can be manually removed. Twigs and branches lying on the ground should be trimmed off so that they do not fall into the water containing the greenhouse.

3. Mechanical Pests Control

Mechanical pests and pathogens in greenhouses can be controlled by the use of insecticides. A variety of insecticides can be used depending on the kind of pests. For example, there are organic pesticides that are organic compounds that are made from plant residues like the castings of sugar cane. There are herbicides that are made from plant extracts. There are some pesticides that are applied externally to kill insects and microorganisms living in the soil.

4. Biological Pest Control

Bacterial pests and pathogens in greenhouses can be effectively managed by using bacterial insecticides. They are known to be more economical and less harsh on the environment compared to other pesticides. They kill the pests instantly without being killed by the plants’ immune systems. Other forms of insecticides are not so effective as they may disrupt the delicate food chain in greenhouses. The use of these chemicals for managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses can be risky as they can affect the crops if accidentally sprayed on them.

5. Proper Moisture

One of the ways of managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses is proper moisture management. Plants need moisture in order for them to grow. If they do not get enough moisture they will not grow properly and die. Controlling moisture in greenhouses is especially important during the springtime when plants are trying to grow out of the winter dormancy period. During this time, many greenhouse owners will mist their plants using a garden hose. If you want to avoid spreading the spores of harmful germs, then make sure that you only mist the foliage of your plants, and not the roots.

6. Soil Free of Magnesium and Lime

Another way to keep your plants healthy and prevent the spread of germs is by using a soil that is free of lime and magnesium. These elements are hard on the roots of plants. When soil becomes over-saturated with these elements, it is unable to retain moisture and turn into a mush of rock salt. You will need to add plenty of lime and magnesium to the soil in your greenhouse, making sure to water well.

7. Keep Plants Well Fed

Another way of managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses is by ensuring that the plant is always well fed. This can be done by adding a fertilizer to the soil around the plant. However, remember not to overdo it as the soil should be well rotted before adding any fertilizer. You can also use an insecticidal soap when watering the plant to get rid of mosquito larvae. Once the insects are dead you should pour some of the soap off the plant into the soil and rinse it off. Make sure that you use a good quality insecticidal soap to ensure you don’t waste any.

8. Timing

The last of the ways of managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses involves timing. In order to be successful you have to do the correct things at the right time. If you leave some food in the pot for pests to eat after a rain, you may be killing them before they can reach it. You should also check on the weather conditions in your garden to see if it’s conducive to the growth of pests or diseases.

9. Conclusion

Managing pests and pathogens in greenhouses is easy if you know how to identify them and control them. You must also learn how to isolate infected plants. This is important because some plant diseases can spread through spores if an infected plant is not kept properly isolated. Finally, do not spray pesticides that have long names since these can actually disperse over a large area, affecting your whole garden. If you are new to this, you should read up on common biocontaminants before attempting to use them.

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