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Tip of the Week: Natural Pest Management

Simple, safe and natural home remedies to rid your houseplants of pests like mold, mealy bugs and fungus 

Mold, mealy bugs and strains of fungus are disgusting on houseplants. Here are some simple solutions to make them go away. Use the solution to wash down the plant leaves that are affected. Then, put a little into the top inch of the soil around the plant leaves and the topsoil around the plant. (You may want to first dig out the top inch of potting soil and replace with fresh before adding the solution as an extra measure of control.)

Mold & Mealy Bug Wash

1/2 cup (114g) cup Epsom salt

1 cup (240ml) warm water

Put Epsom salt into the warm water. Stir until dissolved. Use immediately on plants.

Mildew, Mold and Mealy Bug Spray

1 teaspoon (5ml) liquid Castile soap

1 teaspoon (5ml) tea tree extract

3 teaspoons (14g) baking soda

2 quarts (2L) water

Pour the Castile soap, tea tree extract and baking soda into the water. Mix well. Store in a spray bottle. Label with name and date. Shelf life: 3 to 4 months

One of the most famous fungicides in the world is known as Bordeaux mixture. It was discovered when French botanist, Alexis Millardet, noticed that certain grapevines in France were not suffering from mildew. He asked the farmer why, and was told that the grapes, which had a blue tinge on the leaves, had been sprayed with a mixture of copper sulfate (bluestone) and lime. This was quite a discovery as it turns out that copper is toxic to the fungus. The addition of lime adheres the mix to the vine and helps reduce the chance of getting too much copper on the plant which would be toxic.

Fungus Stopper

3 tablespoons (43g) copper sulfate (bluestone)

2 tablespoons (29g) lime

1 cup (240ml) warm water

Mix ingredients. Pour in a spray bottle. Label with name and date. Store in a cool dark place. Shelf life: 1 to 2 weeks

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