Top Tips for Keeping Pests Out of Your Landscaping

pest control floridaThere’s nothing more frustrating than putting your heart and soul (plus a solid chunk of your bank account) into landscaping only to have pests destroy it. Here in Florida, we must be ever pest-vigilant, since we seem to get everything from chinch bugs to armadillos.

Deer, rabbits, snails, slugs, caterpillars, worms and insects can wreak havoc on lawns, gardens, trees, flowers and shrubbery in no time. To keep your landscaping intact, you should first make it less attractive to pests. Seal crawl spaces, drain water, cover compost piles, clean up bird seed and eliminate grassy areas that could make good bedding.

Another way to keep pests away is to attract their natural predators into your yard. Your approach may vary depending on the type of pest you’re dealing with. For example, aphids are the prey of ladybugs and lacewings, while ground-dwelling slugs fear lizards, toads and the harmless black racer snakes. Black racers also consume rodents, rabbits and poisonous snakes. Research ways to attract the types of critters you may be willing to live which eliminate your pest problem for you.

Total Elimination – Shooting may or may not be an option, but that involves personal choice and awareness of city and county laws. Smoke bombs and scissor traps kill certain types of pests, but are a gruesome solution. Some orchardists place snap traps baited with peanut butter, nut meats, or rolled oats along mouse runways to catch and kill them. A bait of vitamin D is available. It causes a calcium imbalance in the animals and they will die several days after eating the bait. A more humane and holistic approach is to figure out how to coexist with wildlife.

Poisoning - There are poison baits that can be effective, but they may pose a danger to pets and/or the eco-system. Coffee grounds can be a natural alternative, since wide ranges of pests don’t like the smell of coffee, with the bonus of added nitrogen. Flour, salt, beer is toxic to insects, slugs and snails.

Repellents –Visual, such as high powered motion lights and auditory scare devices can be used to repel animals. Scarecrow sprinklers look like regular lawn sprinklers, except they have a battery-powered motion sensor. Anything that gets in the path of the sensor gets a sudden and intense blast of water. Strong scents such as garlic or pepper spray work wonders. Deer don’t like strong odors like bars of scented soap and cheap perfume. Staking bars of Irish Spring has been known to keep them at bay. Granulated containers of fox or coyote urine can discourage rabbits. Many aromatic herbs, like yarrow, citronella, mint, fennel, catnip, basil, and lemongrass are natural deterrents for garden pests from aphids to potato beetles. As an added bonus, some of these herbs also attract the predators that keep pests under control.

Keep ‘Em Out- For pests like deer and rabbits, blocking access by fencing or cover may be the only real option. Raised beds stop smaller animals. Creeping pests like slugs, snails and caterpillars approach your plants from the ground – so make it a dangerous place. Spread crushed eggshells beneath the targeted plants and creepy-crawlies will move along. Barriers and bushes are another alternative.

Trapped – Trap and release is an additional kind solution if you are dedicated. Some counties will offer traps free of charge.

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What Your Neighbors Are Saying About Mansfield Landscaping

We used Mansfield Landscaping as well. They did an excellent job and we were very impressed with their nursery and the workmanship. We had walls build and landscaping. Our palms look as nice as the day they were planted and so far we have not had any problem with any of the shrubs. Steve has stopped by several times just to make sure everything is okay with landscaping. I would definitely recommend Mansfield. This spring we need to tackle the lawn as that is a mess. Can anyone recommend a good landscaper for installation of sod? Looking for someone that does a lot of sod installation.

Lincap (www.talkofthevillages.com)

The Mansfield crew did a terrific job talking with us about what we wanted, and where we wanted the plantings. They brought out a big selection of plants to chose from. The Mansfield folks were very polite and willing to help us in anyway as we determined what we wanted installed. What we wanted moved from existing plants. And care and feeding of the newly installed plants and palms. Ron in particular was very helpful as well as the regular crew foreman. Scott the lighting and irrigation guy was very through. We would highly recommend Steve Mansfield and his company for landscaping work in The Villages.

Jim and Mollie Chritton

Steve is an incredibly talented landscaper... definitely not a run of the mill type. He selects plantings with care and thought for locations and overall design. An added bonus is his conscientiousness towards his customers and the pride he takes in his work... all with good reason. His workers are polite and efficient about cleanup after installing plants. I do not hesitate to give him my highest recommendation.

Julie Moretti (The Villages)

Steve Mansfield and his AMAZING crew just finished landscaping our yard. We sat down with Steve on a Sunday evening (yes, he came out on his day off!!), designed the concept of the yard, we went to his nursery on Tuesday and they finished the entire project the following Monday (it would have been sooner but it was over Thanksgiving weekend and they didn't work that Thursday). Steve personally picked out our Queen palms and put in the most beautiful triple Sylvester Palm we've ever seen. As other posts have stated before, he brought out almost double the plants used in the yard to ensure we had plenty of choices. They lay everything out in the beds before they plant so we had an opportunity to move things around to our liking. After everything was completed my husband and I have agreed that Mansfield Landscaping went WAY above and beyond or expectations. We live on a street that is highly traveled (across from the Charlotte Pool and mailbox) and so many people have stopped to tell us how beautiful it is. We recommend Mansfield Landscaping to anyone interested in working with a company that produces professional results and cares so much about his clients.

Anonymous (The Villages)

I am extremely pleased with the landscaping just completed by Mansfield Landscaping at my residence on Janeann Terrace. This is the 2nd time we’ve used Mansfield—shortly after we moved to The Villages in 2007 and this recent job. They know what they are doing, listen to and work with the customer. Steve Mansfield is one fair and honest person to do business with, his landscaping team is diligent, hard working with polite, pleasant personalities. I would highly recommend Mansfield to anyone interested in doing any landscaping. There is no longer a concern as to which lawn mower will be in my yard—and and I really like my ‘LESS IS MORE’ LANDSCAPING. Many positive comments have come from my neighbors. Thank you Mansfield Landscaping.

Anonymous (The Villages)

We highly recommend Mansfield Landscaping. Working with Steve was most enjoyable and educational. They are a professional group that knows how to design a project. Their large selection of quality plant varieties allows for combinations that create a good layout. The workers arrive on time, work diligently, and clean up when done. The result is that they totally live up to their reputation for customer satisfaction.

Bob & Kaarina H. (The Villages)

We are very please with the quality of work that was performed by Mansfield Landscaping. The workers were diligent and efficient . They exceeded our expectations. We highly recommend them for other landscaping jobs.

Denise & Dennis Lyonnais