Every gesture is important for the protection of the environment. The amateur gardener can play his part by going back to a more healthier way of gardening, replacing synthetic pesticides by more natural, less agressive treatments. Let's have a look at some ecological alternatives...
The Bordeaux Mixture
The bordeaux mixture is the most well-known treatment. After spraying this, the leaves are covered with characteristic blue droplets. This is a mixture of natural products ( lime and copper sulphate) which is applied to protect fruit trees, tomato plants and vines from cryptogamic diseases. Some precautions should be taken, however, when used near a pond, as this product may be very harmful to fish.
This is a natural insecticide produced from the Chrysanthemum. It is used against greenfly and caterpillars. Not to be confused with rotenone, another insecticide of plant origin, which is no longer sold as it has been banned since May 2009. After investigation it was proved to be very dangerous to both humans and pets.
More commonly knpwn as 'lime milk', this is applied to tree trunks with a paintbrush at the end of winter in order to kill the larvae of insects lodged in the bark. It also prevents moss and lichen from developing and fends off cryptogamic diseases. This is called 'tree liming'.
Available in powder form, it can be used in tandem with the Bordeaux mixture. It is essentially used as a preventative treatment on vines and fruit trees to treat against powdery mildew and scab.
Glue Stickers and Bands
Bands of glue are placed around tree trunks at about 80 cms. from the soil. This is a very handy way of stopping the progression of insects up the trunk. It is an efficient way of fighting against ants, caterpillars and greenfly. Stickers, often yellow-coloured, are used to catch thrips and other insects which are widespread in greenhouses.
Fungii and Bacteriae
These lesser known products attack certain parasites selectively. The Bacillus thuringgiensis, sold in powder form, is sprayed on plants attacked by caterpillars. Tricoderma viridae spores in granule or powder form, placed in the openings of trees or in the crevices of the bark, are a good answer to leaf curl.
Whether made from common horsetail or from nettles, slurry-based treatments are very efficient as they strenghten the plant. They are also good for fighting cryptogamic diseases and parasites, so use them at your will !