Top 5 Landscape Pests

Can You See Them in Your Garden?
Take a closer look at the top 5 landscape pests.

Weeds can invade gardens very quickly if not kept in check. They can starve growing plants resulting in loss of nutrition which can make these plants prone to disease and insect infestation. Attempting to control an infestation of any type of weed is always best done in the early stages of growth, especially before they go to seed. One weed left to go to seed can produce hundreds of seeds that can stay active in the soil for years. The best prevention is adhering to a strict, frequent weeding rotation to ensure weeds are picked before they go to seed. Seeing flowering weeds in a landscape is cause for concern and should result in notification to your landscaper.

Allowing a weed infestation can result in significant long term added costs to maintain a landscape.

Crack weeds on hardscapes
Weeds in beds
Seeds can spread rapidly and far

 

European Chafer grubs are a voracious and devastating pest that invade lawns. The damage starts when the chafer grubs feed on lawn roots. Later on, the damage intensifies when predatory animals such as raccoons, skunks, and crows tear up lawns looking to feed on these grubs. The damage caused by this pest and their predators is messy and unsightly. Repairing damaged lawns is labour intensive and leaves the lawn weak and vulnerable to further infestation. The best preventative measures are to ensure strong, healthy lawns throughout the year with an annual application of beneficial nematodes in July.

Chafer grub
Damaged lawn
Chafer beetle

 

Aphids are not usually life threatening to plants, but they do result in the most homeowner complaints. They produce a sap-like substance called ‘honeydew’ that will fall on lower leaves and coat anything and everything under the tree’s canopy including patio furniture, cars and sidewalks. Due to the high sugar content, the honeydew usually attracts bees, wasps and sooty mold. Plants that are stressed or unhealthy release a volatile compound called ethylene that attracts pests like aphids. Ensuring proper, deep watering of plants in the hot summer months, as well as periodic fertilization, will prevent plants and trees from becoming stressed to the point of infestation. Beyond that, there are some biological and organic controls that can be applied to control this pest.

Aphids
Damage
Damage

 

Root Weevil is the larvae phase of the Black Vine Weevil. As damaging as the adults can be, the larvae actually produce the most serious damage. They feed voraciously on plant roots, and there is often little indication of the damage they are inflicting until the plants are almost dead. The chewing damage of the root weevil leaves plants susceptible to soil-borne pathogens such as Phytophthora root rot, for which there is no cure. The best way to treat this damaging pest is an application of beneficial nematodes two times a year.

Dead taxus from Root Weevil damage
Adult beetle – “notches” or chewing on leaves makes them unsightly
Root Weevil larvae eat the roots of plants, often killing them in the process

 

Leatherjackets are the larvae of Crane flies. When they hatch, the larvae will travel down into the soil and begin feeding on the lawn’s root system. They can cause serious damage to lawns that are under stress from too much rain to cooler temperatures. They leave low, scruffy, dead patches of lawn that is easily pulled back. Leatherjackets can be treated with two applications of beneficial nematodes, one in the spring and one in the fall.

Leatherjacket larvae feed on the roots of grass causing the lawn to brown out in a mottled pattern
A lawn suffering from Leatherjacket damage
Crane fly – the adult version of Leatherjacket