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Problem: Thrip

Thrip damage can be seen as strips of discoloration on flowers, or silvery leaves on plants like Rhododendron, and English laurel. Look for brown stains on the underside of leaves.

Solution #1 : Purchase blue sticky cards and place every 7 linear feet or square feet throughout infected area. Replace cards when full. Seabright Labs

Solution #2 : Spray plants with horticultural oil (Sunspray Ultra Fine or Neem Oil) once a week for 3 weeks and watch for any reinfestation. Follow directions on product.

Problem: White Fly

Solution #1: Purchase yellow sticky cards and place in the garden every 7 feet where problem exists. (Whitefly can be detected on the underside of leaves, or when the plant is brushed against, the white fly become airborne.) Using the yellow cards prevents reinfestation.   Seabright Labs

Solution #2: This is my favorite organic solution: Place 2 lbs of old coffee grounds in one gallon of water. Bring to a boil, cool and run through a coffee filter. Spray on infested plants.

Solution # 3: For heavy infestations, spray plant with horticultural oil once a week, until the infestation declines.

Solution # 4: Plant Sweet alyssum around plants to ward off infestations.

Problem: Powdery Mildew

Solution #1: Powdery mildew is a white powdery moist stuff that can infect everything from roses, squash and many other landscape plants. Spray with 4tbs baking soda per quart of water once a week.

Solution #2  Powdery mildew and compost tea. (A listener suggested getting an old T-Shirt and tying the compost up in it) Put one pound of compost, worm castings, or seaweed dry extract in one gallon of water. Let stand covered for 48 hours. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or old nylon. Use the liquid full strength on infected areas. This is especially effective in the fall on squash and other cucurbits.

For Rust and Black Spot on Roses and Ornamentals

Solution: Spray with Actinovate®

For Downey Mildew

This disease affects roses in the spring. Discolored and shriveled new growth. Solution: 4 Tbs Baking soda, 4 Tbs horticultural oil per qt of water and spray foliage every other week for 3 applications.

Problem: Scale and Ants in Citrus and other Ornamental Shrubs

Solution #1: Use ant recipe to get rid of ants. (see Ants in the Home next column) Then spray with Summit horticultural oil once a week for 3 weeks to get rid of the scale. Feed citrus once a month with organic citrus food all year long. Add rock powder/Alfalfa Pellets at least 3 times a year. Or spray with VF-11™ once a week to keep plants healthy to fight the infestation. 

Solution #2: Put Tanglefoot™ around tree trunk.

Problem : Diabrotica Beetle (and possibly Earwigs)

Solution #1 : Sprinkle white flour on plants when leaves are moist in the morning.

Solution #2:  WildWingCo for blue bird houses.

Citrus Care:

Feed your citrus once a month with organic citrus food, if your leaves look slightly mottled it could mean a lack of Magnesium/Manganese, make a solution of Epsom Salts and water into the plants 3 times a year along with Alfalfa pellets.


Problem: Earwigs

Normally earwigs cause little damage to plants and they eat other insects. On the other hand when the population grows expediently they do a great deal of damage. The damage expresses itself by holes in the center of a leaf. They can invade ripening fruit in trees. To find out if you have earwigs roll up some wet newspaper and place on the ground where you see the damage. Unroll each morning and if you see them, pour contents into a bucket of soapy water. There is an organic product on the market that contains Spinosad that can be used to control heavy infestations. One is SLUGGO® PLUS The other product is Captain Jack's bug brew.

Problem: Deer

The best defense against these large rats with horns is to plant around their tast buds. Purchase my "Deer Resistant Planting™"pamphlet for a guide, see the first page of this website for address. You can purchase a convenient repellant called "Deer Scram". Or Bonide puts out a few repellants. You can also spray a weekly solution of fish emulsion on new growth. We have even tried Coyote or bobcat Urine with some success. My Egg repellant recipe is in the book but I can share it with you here:

2 eggs, one cup skim milk, one cup of water and a spreader sticker or spray adjuvent. Spray on the new growth once every 7 to 14 days. 

Problem: Slugs and Snails

Solution : Use Sluggo™ by Monterey Lawn and Garden. This snail bait is safe for pets and wildlife.

Problem: Moles and Voles

Solution: Use a product found on the market that contains castor bean oil.

Bonide's MoleMax Follow directions, water in very well to get this mixture down to where moles tunnel.

For Gophers: 

Solution #1: Gopher Hawk!

Solution #2: Try the mole deterant. 

Solution #3: Place dry ice in the tunnels. Call for suppliers in your area. 

Solution #4: Try human male urine poured down the hole. 

Solution #5: Try human hair down the hole being careful not to disturb the opening.

Problem : Raccoons and Skunks in the Lawn

Also worms in apples, fleas in the yard, termites near the house, onion and carrot maggots, thrip and any other insect that goes through a ground cycle.

Solution : Purchase Beneficial Nematodes and follow directions carefully on the label. Apply at night or when area to be treated is in heavy shade. Also when mixing nematodes for spray or application keep out of sunlight.

Problem: Cats in the Wrong Yard

Solution #1: Rose clippings, or chicken manure or orange peels on ground around area where they are leaving messes. Also bird netting spread over the area can deter them.

Solution #2 : Spray vinegar over area where problem exists. 

Solution #3 : Squirt bottle, water gun or a strong dousing with the hose, if you can see them in your yard.

Problem:Dog Messes

Solution #1 : Hot Thai pepper or black pepper sprinkled on their messes or where they lift their legs deters them from using the area again.

Solution #2 : Female dogs on lawns. Use one cup of vinegar per gallon of water on the area, as close to the incident as possible.

Solution # 3: Try the many dog repellants on the market. Many of them do work.

Problem: Ants in the home or landscape

This ant eliminator is simple and very effective: Mix 3 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 4 teas. of boric acid (powder or crystals). Bring to a boil (don't cook), let cool and place in small bottle caps. Don't put where food is present. If you have animals or children that might ingest product put attractand out of reach or under clay pots lifted by toothpicks.

FYI : Unless ants are a problem with insects on plants (they carry aphid and scale into the branches of plants or trees) or in the house, they can be beneficial creating a barrier against fire ants. If you have Fire ants try Spinosad Captain Jack's bug brew .

Problem: Budworm

(Detected when you can see holes in the flowers and flower buds of plants like petunias, nicotiana, pelargoniums, and snapdragons.)

Solution #1 : Cover plants with Gro Cover™ or plant and seed cover at night when moths are flying. Remove in the morning. Prevents moths from laying eggs in the flowers.

Solution #2 : Use B.T. (Bacillus thuringiensis) Follow directions on the label.

Problem: Squirrels in the ground and squirrels in the fruit trees

Ground squirrels need special attention, so go to for their solution.

Solution #1: Tree Squirrels can be washed away with a stout stream of water and in most instances they will not return. Tanglefoot™ on the fence and around the trunks of trees can discourage them.

Solution #2: If you find that they have unearthed your bulbs, or are stealing your fruit you could try this deterrent to make the bulbs taste bad. Mix ½ oz. Tabasco sauce, 1 pt water, ½ tsp. dish washing liquid, 1 tsp. chili powder. Spray on stems of new buds, on ripening fruit and on ground after plantingbulbs.


Solution: Empty all standing water when there is clear weather after rains or garden watering. Put Mosquito dunks and pellets where you have standing water.

Problem: Roof Rats and Rats in the Home

(Unexplained bites found on citrus, tomatoes and other fruit) 

Solution #1: Rat Recipe, 3 cups of Oatmeal, 1 cup of plaster of paris mix together and place out of reach of children and pets. Put a small cup of water near but not next to powder solution and wait. This will kill them but not harm predators. 

Solution #2: Victor Rat Trap Check your local Ace Hardware.

Solution #3: Repel by using Coyote or bobcat Urine scent. Call for supplier, follow directions.

Solution #4 : Consult an exterminator - Set out rat traps.



VF-11 Plant food is what I recommend for  easy foliar feeding plants. The original owner was a dear friend and helped me try the product on the Oak Trees around my former property to help them heal from sudden oak death. The product recipes were sold and the new company is

Just to show you a Japanese Beetle and link to farmers Almanac page regarding the insect:

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