There’s nothing more frustrating than freshly bedded plants or vegies being destroyed by garden pests or extremes of weather.
All that hard work and money spent down the drain due to factors largely out of your control—it’s enough to drive you potty!
But before you reach for the chemicals or give up entirely, there is a great selection of plant protection products you can try.
Are you ready to defend your green haven?
Garden pests you might encounter
Our gardens in Australia and New Zealand are full of critters, but not all of them are destructive.
Insects like bees and butterflies play a vital role in pollination, while birds can help control certain insect populations and contribute to a balanced ecosystem.
Unfortunately, others love to nibble on our garden goods and are definitely unwelcome. On top of this, you can get wild animals dropping in for a feed, or pets, such as dogs and cats, wreaking havoc on your fresh garden beds.
But who are the main culprits? Let’s name and shame them.
Pest number 1: Animals
- Possums – Pesky possums are the number one offender in most Aussie and NZ gardens. Common brushtail or ringtail varieties are known to feed on leaves, flowers and fruits, causing damage to a range of plants, including vegies.
- Rats – These opportunistic little rodents target a variety of fruits and veg, from leafy greens, such as lettuce, spinach and kale, to root vegies, such as carrots, potatoes and beet. They also go crazy for a bit of ripe fruit.
- Rabbits – While cute, these furry mammals are notorious for damaging gardens by eating young shoots, leaves, and flowers like gazanias, marigolds, and pansies. They’re especially fond of lettuce, beans and broccoli.
- Flying foxes (Fruit bats) – These airborne mammals are a protected species, so they can only be warded off naturally. They’re particularly fond of fruit trees, including apples, pears, figs, bananas, berries and grapes.
Pest number 2: Bugs
- Aphids – These sap-sucking pests love to feast on vegies such as lettuce, broccoli, carrots and beans. They’re also fans of ornamental plants, including flowering plants like roses, daisies, chrysanthemums, and hibiscus.
- Slugs and snails – These slow movers munch on leaves, stems and fruits, leaving behind various types of damage on plants, including vegies. Things they feast on include herbs, seedlings, leafy greens and delicate flowers.
- Grasshoppers – These jumping pests devour leaves and other parts, causing significant damage to both plants and vegies. They have a fondness for leafy greens, herbs, vegies, ornamental plants and grasses.
- Moths and caterpillars – You’ve got to watch your foliage with these two. They often target leaves and, in some instances, also nibble on fruits and flowers. The cabbage moth and eggs are one of the biggest pests.
- Beetles – These hard-cased critters love their vegies. Some of the main offenders are weevils, ladybird, flea, pumpkin and the Colorado potato beetle. They’ll damage your leaves, stems and fruits.
Pest number 3: Birds
- Cockatoos – Not only are they super noisy, but these large white birds (the sulphur-crested variety) are known for their strong beak and love to chew on plants and damage fruit and vegie gardens.
- Rainbow lorikeets – While they look delightful, these colourful parrots feed on nectar, pollen, and fruits. They’re known for damaging soft fruits like apples, peaches, and berries in Australian gardens.
- Magpies – Though they tend to consume bugs in the summer, in winter, magpies can occasionally feast on soft fruits, such as berries. They’ll also pick at vegies given a chance.
- Silvereye – These small backyard friends are generally beneficial to your garden as they eat insects and other pests. However, they are known to feed on ripened fruit, especially grapes and berries.
Plant protection from pests
So now we know what animals, bugs and birds are a potential threat to your plants and vegie gardens, what can we do about them?
Don’t worry, Jack’s got your back with a range of recommended plant protection products for pests. All are physical items rather than pesticides for organic and chemical-free gardening.
Deterrents – Fake owls and eagles
These decoys look like the real thing and even move and make sounds so they appear alive. This scares pests away by tricking them into thinking a big scary predator is nearby. They don’t want to become dinner!
However, some smarter pests can get used to these lifelike deterrents over time, so it’s a good idea to keep changing their site or position or use them in combination with other measures.
Mesh fencing – Garden, Aviary and Dog
Garden mesh is another fantastically simple way to protect your plants and vegies from pest destruction.
It provides a physical barrier that prevents them from getting into your freshly planted beds. At the same time, mesh also offers good airflow and drainage and allows for pollination. Plus, it’s durable and reusable.
If you’re in need of something super sturdy, our Jack Aviary Mesh works great to ward off powerful birds or bigger animals.
If it’s dogs or other domestic pets you want to deter, our Jack Dog Mesh is ideal for shielding garden beds from play damage.
Seasonal weather that can destroy your hard work
As well as pests looking to sample your plants and vegies, the harsh extremes of weather in Australia and New Zealand can damage them in more ways than one.
While you can’t control the skies, you can be prepared for what they throw our way. So, let’s take a look at the specific types of weather you need to worry about.
Weather number 1: Frost
In regions with cooler climates or during winter, frost can spread across your garden, harming your plants.
Frost damage causes ice crystals to form within the tissues leading to cell rupture and damage. This can be most harmful to tender or frost-sensitive plants, including vegies and certain flowers.
Common effects of frost damage include:
- Browning or blackening of leaves
- Overall plant decline
Weather number 2: Wind
Batten down your hatches, the wind’s on its way! Not only do you need to worry about damage to your property, but strong winds can give your plants a battering.
Common effects of wind damage include:
- Desiccation (drying out) of leaves and plant tissue leading to wilting and reduced vitality
- Snapping or breaking stems
- Leaning or bending
Weather number 3: UV / heat damage
While most of us love the sun, too much isn’t good for us—or our plants and vegies. The combination of ultraviolet radiation (UV) and heat can negatively impact our gardens on this side of the world.
Commons effects of UV/sun damage include:
- Leaves developing brown patches, wilting or dying
- UV damage to chlorophyll affecting photosynthesis and leading to stunted growth and reduced vigour
- Plants losing water more rapidly, causing stress and dehydration
- Less flower pollination and reduced fruit crops
- Weakening leading to increased susceptibility to disease
Weather number 4: Moisture
Plants and vegies love water in the right amount. But give them excessive rain and very damp conditions, and they won’t love the H2O quite as much.
Common effects of too much moisture include:
- Root rot caused by roots being deprived of oxygen, causing wilting, yellowing leaves and stunted growth
- Suffocation of roots, leading to reduced nutrient uptake and overall plant decline
- Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, leaf spot and damping off
- Nutrient imbalances affecting plant growth and health
- Weakness and increased susceptibility to stress, pests and diseases.
Plant protection from seasonal weather
Now you’ve seen the damage seasonal weather can do to your garden, what can you do about it? Again, Jack’s got some great solutions to keep your plants and vegies safe from whatever the heavens throw at us.
Greenhouse plant covers
For ultimate plant protection, you can’t beat a Greenhouse Cover.
Greenhouse plant covers protect plants from extreme seasonal weather, including rain, wind and frost. They can also deter pests for a double win and extend your growing season, staying warm in winter and moist in summer.
Just make sure you secure them firmly with stakes so they don’t blow away!
All-weather protective plant covers
Our Jack All-weather Protective Plant Covers offer dual protection.
The top is made from mesh and filters sunlight, protecting plants from strong rays. At the same time, they allow water and air to penetrate. Meanwhile, the lower section has clear PVC sides that keep plants and soil warmer in colder months, keeping in moisture.
Plant protection tunnels
Plant protection tunnels are a light, flexible and cost-effective way to protect your plants and vegies from extremes of weather.
Our Jack Protective Shade Grow Tunnel provides a shaded environment for plants during the hot summer months, as well as protecting them from pests. It’s perfect for cucumbers, squash, beans, root vegetables and annuals.
Ready to be a protector of plants?
So there you have it. That’s plant protection covered!
Now all you need to do is head to your nearest local supplier to pick up your Jack plant protection products.
Once you’ve installed your set-up, why not share it on socials and tag @meetdiyjack? We love to see our products in action!