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Introduction to Horticulture

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Rural Technology

Horticulture is a science of studying garden plants. The world Horticulture is derived from two
Latin words viz. Hortus means garden and Culture means knowledge of growing these crops.
Horticulture is an aesthetic science that deals with the important crops which are grown in the
gardens e.g. vegetable crops in vegetable garden, fruit crops in fruit orchards.

Branches of Horticulture

There are four branches of Horticulture, which are as follows:-

1. Olericulture (Vegetable culture): This branch deals with the study of vegetable crops.
Vegetables are nutritive food of plant origin which are normally cooked before consumption or
eaten raw as salad. e.g. Cabbage, Tomato, Fenugreek.

2. Pomology (Fruit Culture): This branch of Horticulture deals with study of different fruit crops.
Cultivation, management and other aspects of fruit crops are covered under this branch e.g.
Mango, Banana, Grapes.

3. Floriculture and Ornamental Gardening: This branch of Horticulture covers flower crops and
ornamental plants. Study of different flower crops and ornamental plants with reference to their
production and uses. It also includes gardening, landscaping and beautification of surroundings
e.g. Roses, asters, lily, Cactus, Ferns, etc.

4. Post Harvest Technology and preservation: Study of post harvest handling, marketing, and
processing of Horticultural crops is covered under this branch. Post harvest management of
fruits, vegetables, flowers with their storage, marketing and preservation is studied under this
branch e.g. Preparation of jam, jelly, ketchup etc.

Importance and scope of Horticulture

Let us see the importance of Horticulture:

1. As compared to field crops Horticultural crops give more returns per unit area (More yield in
terms of weight and money).

2. Horticulture crops are important as their nutritional status is high. Particularly fruits and
vegetables provide high amount of vitamins and minerals to us.
3. Horticulture is important as it beautifies the surroundings.

4. Horticulture crops are suitable for small and marginal farmers.

5. The varieties of crops are available in the Horticulture section with wide range of uses.

6. Horticultural plants improve environment by reducing pollution, conserves soil and water and
improve socio-economic status of the farmer. Scope of Horticultural crops

Factors affecting the scope of Horticultural crops in India is as follows:

1. Varied agro climatic conditions in India, allows growing different Horticultural crops in
different regions.

2. Increasing irrigation facilities provide more scope for growing Horticultural crops.

3. Availability of technical information regarding production of Horticultural crops will provide


congenial condition for growing these crops.

4. Increasing communication and transport facilities provide greater markets to Horticultural


crops.

5. There is scope for export of fresh and processed products.

6. Greater demand for Horticultural commodities in local markets.

7. Facilities provided by the government helps farmer to replace their traditional crops with
Horticultural crops.

8. Development of financial institutions, co-operatives in rural areas. increasing returns from


these crops.

Intext Questions

A. Fill in the blanks:

1. The term Horticulture is derived from and words.

2. Olericulture is a branch of Horticulture that deals with crops.

3. branch of Horticulture deals with fruit crops.

4. Horticulture is an science.
Farming tool
How to prepare the rice field for planting

Land preparation is important to ensure that the


rice field is ready for planting. A well-prepared field controls weeds, recycles plant nutrients, and
provides a soft soil mass for transplanting and a suitable soil surface for direct seeding.

Land preparation covers a wide range of practices from zero-tillage or minimum tillage which
minimizes soil disturbance through to a totally 'puddled' soil which actually destroys soil
structure.

It typically involves (1) plowing to "till" or dig-up, mix, and overturn the soil; (2) harrowing to
break the soil clods into smaller mass and incorporate plant residue, and (3) leveling the field.

Initial land preparation begins after your last harvest or during fallow period. This is important
for effective weed control and for enriching the soil. Generally, it will take 3−4 weeks to prepare
the field before planting.

 Clear the field


 Create compost from rice residues
 Plant cover crops

 At dry field condition, apply glyphosate to kill weeds and for better field hygiene.
 Irrigate the field 2−3 days after glyphosate application.
 Maintain standing water at 2−3 cm level for about 3−7 days or until it is soft enough and suitable
for an equipment to be used.
 Plow or rotovate the field to incorporate stubbles and hasten decomposition.

Implements: Power tiller with attached moldboard plow, Hydrotiller, Rotovator

 Flood the field. Keep it submerged for at least two weeks. Let the water drain naturally to allow
volunteer seeds and weed seeds to germinate.

Depending on weed population and soil condition, another tillage operation can be done.

Different rice ecosystems have different land preparation requirements. Lowland rice fields, for
example, are usually puddled to develop a hard pan and reduce water loss. Upland ricefields, on
the other hand, do not necessarily have to be puddled. In resource-limiting environments, dry
preparation can be adapted.

Wet Preparation

Wet preparation may be appropriate if...

 My farm has access to irrigation.


 My field is surrounded by bunds that enable flooding.
 My farm has a loamy to clay type of soil.
 I have equipment for primary tillage, secondary tillage, and leveling.

Read more

Dry Preparation
Dry preparation may be appropriate if...

 I do not have access to irrigation and water supply is limited.


 I have equipment and machinery available for tillage and/or labor is a limiting factor.
 My farm has a coarse, sandy type of soil.
 My field has a well-established hard pan, I have planted rice on it many times and I can control
weeds with methods other than flooding.

CLEARING
TILLING

HARROWING
SEED
Introduction:
A seed is essentially a baby in a suitcase carrying its lunch. "Baby" refers to the embryo, or
immature plant, that will grow and develop into the seedling and ultimately the mature plant.
The "suitcase" is the seed coat (or testa) that surrounds the seeds and "lunch" refers to the
nutritive source for the germinating seedling. The food for the germinating seedling may be
stored in part of the embryo itself, such as the fleshy cotyledons of a bean seed, or it may take
other forms including endosperm, which is a special starch-rich storage tissue that surrounds the
embryo.

A seed is officially considered to have germinated when the young root, called the radicle,
emerges from the seed coat. To germinate, a seed requires three things � water, oxygen, and a
suitable temperature. Water uptake, also called imbibition, is the first stage of seed germination.
During this process the dry seed, which typically has a water content of less than 10%, absorbs
water and swells. This process serves to hydrate the dry components of the seed and active the
metabolic machinery necessary for germination. Among the early metabolic activities occurring
in the seed is the breakdown of starches stored in the seed into simple sugars that can be used for
energy and building blocks for necessary cellular structures.

Except for the first half-hour or so of germination when little oxygen is present, seed
germination and subsequent seedling growth requires oxygen. It is required, in large part, for use
in the cellular structures, called mitochondria, to produce ATP (energy). A suitable temperature
is necessary to optimize the metabolic reactions required for germination. The seeds of every
species have an optimal temperature for germination; some species, such as the gourds and
squashes prefer warm temperatures while other species such as radish can tolerate cooler
temperatures for germination.

A seed that has not germinated because it is lacking one or more of the necessary requirements
for germination is termed quiescent. These seeds are simply "resting", waiting for the
appropriate conditions for germination. Given water, oxygen and/or a suitable temperature, a
quiescent seed will germinate. However, even if given the proper conditions, a seed may not
germinate. These seeds may fail to germinate because the seed is either dormant or "dead".

Dormant seeds have the potential to germinate but are prevented from doing so by some
mechanism. Thus, even though all the proper growth conditions are present, they don't
germinate unless they have been "primed" and there dormancy mechanism has been overcome.
There are many dormancy mechanisms in seeds. For example, when some seeds, like hemp, are
shed they have immature embryos that will not germinate until they undergo a period of
development (called after-ripening). Other seeds, like apple, require a cold treatment, called
stratification, for germination. Many of our native plant seeds must be stratified. Some seeds
have a hard seed coat that needs to be nicked (called scarification) for germination. This usually
occurs as the result of natural freeze-thaw cycles. Still other seeds require a period of heat in
order to germinate. Many of these species are winter annuals that germinate in the late
summer/early fall.
Ultimately, the function of these varied dormancy mechanisms is to enable the seed time to
disperse from the parent plant and to avoid germinating during unfavorable weather. Humans
have attempted to breed dormancy mechanisms from our crop plants. Although an advantage for
a wild plant, dormancy is a problem if a farmer who want the crop to germinate uniformly and
immediately upon planting.

Its not easy to tell if a seed is dead Only if it fails to germinate when provided the proper
conditions and any dormancy mechanisms are broken can we consider a seed dead

Seed companies typically test the germination of seeds before sale. The results of these
tests, the germination percentage, are typically provided on a seed packet. Most crop seeds lose
viability rapidly after a few years. However, a few long-lived seeds are known. For example,
mustard seeds show good germination after even 50 years.

Characteristics of Seed Plants


By Cindy Grigg

1 All seed plants share two characteristics. They have vascular tissue and use seeds to
reproduce. In addition, they all have body plans that include leaves, stems, and roots. Most seed
plants live on land. Seed plants face many challenges, including standing upright and supplying
all their cells with water and food. They meet these two challenges with vascular tissue. The
thick walls of the cells in the vascular tissue help support the plants. In addition, water, food, and
nutrients are transported throughout the plants in vascular tissue.
2 There are two types of vascular tissue. Phloem (FLOH um) is the vascular tissue through
which food moves. When food is made in the plant's leaves, it enters the phloem and travels to
the plant's stems and roots. Water and nutrients, on the other hand, travel in the vascular tissue
called xylem (ZY lum). The plant's roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil. These
materials enter the root's xylem and move upward into the plant's stems and leaves.
3 Seeds are structures that contain a young plant inside a protective coating. One reason why
seed plants are so numerous is that they produce seeds. Seed plants do not need water in their
environment to reproduce like seedless plants do. Even though different kinds of seeds look
different from each other, they all have a similar structure. A seed has three important parts: an
embryo, stored food, and a seed coat.
Planting Methods and Seedling Care
Tips on Seedling Care

During transportation

 If available, haul in a refrigerated truck.


 Cover bundles with a tarpaulin to avoid any exposure to sun and wind.
 Be sure seedling bundles are stacked properly with adequate ventilation to prevent overheating.
 The transit period should be kept as short as possible unless refrigeration is available.
 Unload seedlings immediately upon arrival at destination and store properly.

During storage

 If possible, place seedlings in cold storage (33-40 degrees Fahrenheit); otherwise, place in a cool,
shaded place. Protect seedlings from freezing.
 Tape up holes torn in packaging to prevent drying of roots.
 Pour cold water into the open end of the bundles often enough to keep seedling roots moist,
but not wet.
 Stack bundles loosely and use spacers between bundles to permit adequate ventilation.
 Stack bundles with one end higher than the other to permit drainage.
 If seedlings must be stored more than two weeks, "heel-in" seedlings in a trench located in a
shaded, protected area.

Hand Planting Basics

Download this image at the bottom of the page

 Plant your trees as soon as possible after receiving them.


 Always carry seedlings in a bucket half-full of water or wet packing material such as moss.
 Don't allow seedling roots to dry out.
 Do not store trees with their roots in water.
 Dig holes as deep as the root systems.
 Plant the seedlings at the same depth they grew at the nursery or slightly deeper.
 Make sure the roots are spread out and are not bent or crowded.
 Pack the soil firmly around the roots to close air pockets.

Machine Planting

 Use a three- or four-person crew. One person follows the tree-planting machine to straighten
and pack seedlings. Another keeps seedlings protected, separated and ready to load into
planting machine trays.
 Trees in planting trays should be kept covered at all times with wet moss. If roots are exposed to
the sun and wind, the trees may be dead before they are planted.
 Run the machine deep enough to allow the roots to hang down straight in the planting trench,
typically 8-10 inches. If the soil is too rocky or hard to permit machine planting, plant by hand.
 Set seedlings at the same depth or slightly deeper than they grew in the seedbed.

During Planting

Avoid planting when the ground is frozen or extremely dry, or when excessively wet and
sticky.

 Never leave open bundles of seedlings exposed to the sun and wind. During planting, take only a
few bundles at a time. Cover the others and keep cool and moist.
 Seedlings should be carried in buckets or bags and covered with wet moss to protect roots from
exposure to sun and air.
 Remove only one seedling at a time from the bucket and plant immediately.
 Check spacing periodically to ensure proper number of seedlings per acre.
 When machine planting, be sure tractor speed is matched to the capabilities of the person
planting.
 Check furrow depth when machine planting or depth of the planting hole when hand planting to
provide for the full length of the roots when they are straightened.
 To check firmness of soil packing, grasp the top of the seedling and pull gently upward; if the
tree pulls out of the ground easily, it was not firmly packed.

Care After Planting

 After establishing a new plantation, it is necessary to take several precautions to protect your
investment of time, money and effort.
 Besides killing trees outright, fires can leave scars and invite decay. Plow or disk a fire break
around your plantation and maintain it during fire season.
 Livestock grazing probably destroys more trees in Missouri than fire. Livestock will eat young
seedlings and trample the protective soil and leaf cover, encouraging soil erosion. Fence
livestock from your woods and tree plantations.
 Animals such as rabbits, mice and deer can damage young trees. Keep the grass and weeds
mowed short to permit easier hunting of rodents by hawks, owls and foxes. If deer damage is a
problem, consider opening the area to hunting. Specially designed electric fences are effective,
but can be expensive.
 Prevent growth of weeds and grasses around new trees by cultivating, using herbicides, disking
or hoeing as often as necessary during the first three to five years. Weed competition inhibits
tree growth.
 Inspect plantations regularly for evidence of insect or disease damage. If excessive damage is
found, contact your local MDC forester for help in diagnosing the problem and recommending
controls.
 Mulching around trees in smaller plantings can help conserve soil moisture and control weed
growth.
 Spread wood chips, rotted sawdust or straw at a depth of 3 inches and 2 feet diameter around
but not directly on the seedling.
Mechanism
Six tomato plants grown with and without nitrate fertilizer on nutrient-poor sand/clay soil. One of the
plants in the nutrient-poor soil has died.

Fertilizers enhance the growth of plants. This goal is met in two ways, the traditional one being
additives that provide nutrients. The second mode by which some fertilizers act is to enhance the
effectiveness of the soil by modifying its water retention and aeration. This article, like many on
fertilizers, emphasises the nutritional aspect. Fertilizers typically provide, in varying
proportions:[2]

 three main macronutrients:


o Nitrogen (N): leaf growth
o Phosphorus (P): Development of roots, flowers, seeds, fruit;
o Potassium (K): Strong stem growth, movement of water in plants, promotion of
flowering and fruiting;
 three secondary macronutrients: calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S);
 micronutrients: copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), boron (B).
Of occasional significance are silicon (Si), cobalt (Co), and vanadium (V).

The nutrients required for healthy plant life are classified according to the elements, but the
elements are not used as fertilizers. Instead compounds containing these elements are the basis of
fertilizers. The macro-nutrients are consumed in larger quantities and are present in plant tissue
in quantities from 0.15% to 6.0% on a dry matter (DM) (0% moisture) basis. Plants are made up
of four main elements: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen
are widely available as water and carbon dioxide. Although nitrogen makes up most of the
atmosphere, it is in a form that is unavailable to plants. Nitrogen is the most important fertilizer
since nitrogen is present in proteins, DNA and other components (e.g., chlorophyll). To be
nutritious to plants, nitrogen must be made available in a "fixed" form. Only some bacteria and
their host plants (notably legumes) can fix atmospheric nitrogen (N2) by converting it to
ammonia. Phosphate is required for the production of DNA and ATP, the main energy carrier in
cells, as well as certain lipids.

Micronutrients are consumed in smaller quantities and are present in plant tissue on the order of
parts-per-million (ppm), ranging from 0.15 to 400 ppm DM, or less than 0.04% DM.[3][4] These
elements are often present at the active sites of enzymes that carry out the plant's metabolism.
Because these elements enable catalysts (enzymes) their impact far exceeds their weight
percentage.
Four Methods For Applying Fertilizers

 1 Types of Inorganic Fertilizers


 2 Inorganic Fertilizer Vs. Organic Fertilizer
 3 Calculate Fertilizer Application Rates
 4 Advantages & Disadvantages of Natural & Chemical Fertlilzers

Fertilizers are marketed with three numbers that indicate the ratio by weight of nitrogen,
phosphorous and potassium. Nitrogen generally promotes plant growth. Phosphorous promotes
flowering and fruiting. Dry chemical fertilizers are typically least expensive and slow-release
fertilizers to save you the most time. The method of applying fertilizers depends on the nature of
your plants, their nutrient needs and the soil.

Deep Soil Application

Organic manures are sometimes placed on the surface of soil and incorporated into the soil with
a plough or rototiller before planting. Fertilizer can also be applied in bands at the bottom of
plough furrows or broadcast or spread on top of ploughed soil that is then worked into the soil
with a harrow before planting.

Broadcasting

You can use a walk-behind drop spreader or hand-held spreader with a crank to scatter granular
or bulk fertilizer on the ground. This method, called broadcasting, is good for flowerbeds, lawns,
trees and vegetable gardens. Fertilizer may be broadcast on of the ground before planting and
then tilled or watered into the soil. If it is broadcast on growing plants and watered into the soil,
it is called topdressing.

Banding

To fertilize a row of flowers or vegetables or to get plants started, place the fertilizer 2 inches to
the side and 2 inches deeper than the seed furrow. This is called banding. When you irrigate with
furrows, place the band of fertilizer between the irrigation furrow and the seed furrow. Place
bands of fertilizer on each side of the furrow. When you irrigate with a drip hose, place the
fertilizer under the emitter. You can also place the fertilizer on one side of a seedling or on one
side of a plant mid-way through its growing period. This is called side dressing.

Liquid Application

Water-soluble fertilizer can be applied with spray cans or applied with sprinklers or furrow
irrigation. Small amounts of liquid fertilizer applied to young vegetable plants at the time of
transplanting is called a starter solution. Some plants require micronutrients such as zinc and iron
that they cannot get through the soil, but their leaves can absorb them. Water-soluble fertilizer is
usually sprayed on leaves when they first show signs of nutrient deficiency and in periods of
drought when the soil is to dry to absorb the nutrients. There are drawbacks. If you use a solution
that is too strong you might burn or scorch the leaves. You can only apply a small amount of
nutrients in a single spray. This method is costly unless you combine the fertilizer with pesticides
to control insects or disease.

Irrigation
The hub of a center-pivot irrigation system

Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants


at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops,
maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and
during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation also has other
uses in crop production, including frost protection,[1] suppressing
weed growth in grain fields[2] and preventing soil consolidation.[3] In
contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as
rain-fed or dry land farming.

Irrigation systems are also used for cooling livestock, dust


suppression, disposal of sewage, and in mining. Irrigation is often
studied together with drainage, which is the removal of surface and sub-surface water from a
given area.

Irrigation canal in Osmaniye, Turkey


Sprinkler irrigation of blueberries in Plainville, New York, United States

Irrigation has been a central feature of agriculture for over 5,000 years and is the product of
many cultures. Historically, it was the basis for economies and societies across the globe, from
Asia to the Southwestern United States.

Surface irrigation consists of a broad class of irrigation methods in which water is


distributed over the soil surface by gravity flow. The irrigation water is introduced
into level or graded furrows or basins, using siphons, gated pipe, or turnout structures,
and is allowed to advance across the field. Surface irrigation is best suited to flat land Surface
slopes, and medium to fine textured soil types which promote the lateral spread of irrigation
water down the furrow row or across the basin.

Sprinkler irrigation is a method of irrigation in


which water is sprayed, or sprinkled through the air
in rain like drops. The spray and sprinkling devices
can be permanently set in place (solid set),
temporarily set and then moved after a given amount
of water has been applied (portable set or
intermittent mechanical move), or they can be
mounted on booms and pipelines that continuously
travel across the land surface (wheel roll, linear
move, center pivot).

Sprinkler irrigation
Drip/trickle irrigation systems are methods
of microirrigation wherein water is applied
through emitters to the soil surface as drops
or small streams. The discharge rate of the
emitters is low so this irrigation method can
be used on all soil types.

Drip/trickle irrigation

Subsurface irrigation consists of methods


whereby irrigation water is applied below the soil
surface. The specific type of irrigation method
varies depending on the depth of the water table.
When the water table is well below the surface,
drip or trickle irrigation emission devices can be
buried below the soil surface (usually within the
plant root zone).

Subsurface irrigation
METHODS OF DRAINAGE

Main drainage systems

Deep collector drain

The main drainage systems consist of deep or shallow


collectors, and main drains or disposal drains.

Deep collector drains are required for subsurface field


drainage systems, whereas shallow collector drains are
used for surface field drainage systems, but they can also be used for pumped subsurface
systems. The deep collectors may consist of open ditches or buried pipe lines.

The terms deep collectors and shallow collectors refer rather to the depth of the water level in
the collector below the soil surface than to the depth of the bottom of the collector. The bottom
depth is determined both by the depth of the water level and by the required discharge capacity.

The deep collectors may either discharge their water into deep main drains (which are drains that
do not receive water directly from field drains, but only from collectors), or their water may be
pumped into a disposal drain.

Disposal drains are main drains in which the depth of the water level below the soil surface is not
bound to a minimum, and the water level may even be above the soil surface, provided that
embankments are made to prevent inundation. Disposal drains can serve both subsurface and
surface field drainage systems.

Pumping station Van Sasse in Grave, the Netherlands

Deep main drains can gradually become disposal drains


if they are given a smaller gradient than the land slope
along the drain.

The technical criteria applicable to main drainage


systems depend on the hydrological situation and on the
type of system.[7]

Main drainage outlet

The final point of a main drainage system is the gravity outlet structure [8] or the pumping
station.[9]
Applications

Surface drainage systems are usually applied in relatively flat lands that have soils with a low or
medium infiltration capacity, or in lands with high-intensity rainfalls that exceed the normal
infiltration capacity, so that frequent waterlogging occurs on the soil surface.
Subsurface drainage systems are used when the drainage problem is mainly that of shallow water
tables.
When both surface and subsurface waterlogging occur, a combined surface/subsurface drainage
system is required.
Sometimes, a subsurface drainage system is installed in soils with a low infiltration capacity,
where a surface drainage problem may improve the soil structure and the infiltration capacity so
greatly that a surface drainage system is no longer required.[10]
On the other hand, it can also happen that a surface drainage system diminishes the recharge of
the groundwater to such an extent that the subsurface drainage problem is considerably reduced
or even eliminated.
The choice between a subsurface drainage system by pipes and ditches or by tube wells is more a
matter of technical criteria and costs than of agricultural criteria, because both types of systems
can be designed to meet the same agricultural criteria and achieve the same benefits. Usually,
pipe drains or ditches are preferable to wells. However, when the soil consists of a poorly
permeable top layer several meters thick, overlying a rapidly permeable and deep subsoil, wells
may be a better option, because the drain spacing required for pipes or ditches would be
considerably smaller than the spacing for wells.

Drainage design procedures

When the land needs a subsurface drainage system, but saline


groundwater is present at great depth, it is better to employ a
shallow, closely spaced system of pipes or ditches instead of a
deep, widely spaced system. The reason is that the deeper
systems produce a more salty effluent than the shallow systems.
Environmental criteria may then prohibit the use of the deeper
systems.
In some drainage projects, one may find that only main drainage
systems are envisaged. The agricultural land is then still likely to suffer from field drainage
problems. In other cases, one may find that field drainage systems are ineffective because there
is no adequate main drainage system. In either case, the installation of drainage systems is not
recommended.
Reference:[11] gives a general description of land drainage in the world and [12] shows a paper on
types of agricultural land drainage systems used in different parts of the world.
The 5 Most Destructive Garden Insects and
How to Get Rid of Them
Protect your vegetable plot from these pesky invaders.

Getty ImagesAlexandrum79

No gardener wants to see insects wreaking havoc on a bed full of ripening produce. Luckily, it's
possible to keep unwelcome visitors away. Since some pesticides can hurt the beneficial bugs
that actually help your plants, try these easy control measures first before resorting to the strong
stuff.

1. Aphids
Radu Bercan/Shutterstock

These tiny, pear-shaped critters have long antennae and two tubes projecting rearward from their
abdomen. They usually hang out on most fruits and vegetables, flowers, ornamentals, and shade
trees throughout North America. Aphids suck plant sap, causing foliage to distort and leaves to
drop; honeydew excreted on leaves supports sooty mold growth; and feeding spreads viral
diseases. To control these bugs:

 Wash plants with strong spray of water


 Encourage native predators and parasites such as aphid midges, lacewings, and lady beetles
 When feasible, cover plants with floating row covers
 Apply hot-pepper or garlic repellent sprays
 For severe problems, apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil

2. Cabbage Maggot

studio 2013/Shutterstock

These stick to cabbage-family crops, especially Chinese cabbages, and live throughout North
America. The maggots tunnel in roots, killing plants directly or by creating entryways for disease
organisms. To control these destructive creatures, try these methods:

 Apply floating row covers


 Set out transplants through slits in tar-paper squares
 Avoid first generation by delaying planting
 Apply parasitic nematodes around roots
 Burn roots from harvested plants
 Mound wood ashes or red pepper dust around stems
3. Caterpillars

polarpx/Shutterstock

Caterpillars are soft, segmented larvae with distinct, harder head capsule with six legs in the
front and fleshy false legs on rear segments. They can be found on many fruits and vegetables,
ornamentals, and shade trees. Caterpillars chew on leaves or along margins; some tunnel into
fruits. To deter them:

 Encourage native predators and parasites


 Hand-pick your harvest
 Apply floating row covers

4. Cutworms
Sarah2/Shutterstock

Cutworms are fat, 1-inch-long, gray or black segmented larvae most active at night. They are
found on most early vegetable and flower seedlings and transplants throughout North America.
Cutworms chew through stems at ground level; they may completely devour small plants in May
and June. For control:

 Use cutworm collars on transplants


 Delay planting
 Hand-pick cutworms curled below soil surface

5. Colorado Potato Beetle

Sergiy Kuzmin/Shutterstock

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Adults are yellow-orange beetles with ten black stripes on wing covers. They're found on
potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and petunias throughout North America. These
beetles defoliate plants, reducing yields or killing young plants. To control:

 Apply floating row covers


 Use deep straw mulches
 Hand pick
 Attract native parasites and predators
 Spray with neem oil