I remember what my youngest son said when we moved here from Norway almost a year ago, and we where driving throughout Houston. He got quite philosophically in the back seat of the car when we drove past all the shooting ranges, gun shops and the martial art training centers. He said that it seemed as the Texans was really fond of defending themselves. We thought that was a very diplomatic and open minded way to see it. Specially in view of that you in Norway have very strict weapon laws. If you own guns its because you are a hunter, you don’t have weapon at home for self defense. Even our police force are not usually armed.
It seems that the spirit of defending themselves runs deep here and it also apply to anything that crawls, flies and walks around in the garden. Yes, there are more potentially dangerous insects (and some animals) for humans here than in Scandinavia, and the warm climate makes it more difficult to get rid of aphids, mites, ants, fungus, spiders and other pests. But really! Yes, I can see that a lot of the wildlife do bad things with peoples greenery, but I’m impressed by the level of pesticide joy here!
Plants can usually take some insect damage. Its a lot better if you all try to improve soil and drainage around our plants. That will lead to better overall plant health and the plants will tolerate insect attack, drought, scorching sun and everything that threats our Texan gardens a lot better.
I am not completely against the use of herbicides and pesticides in the garden. I think its a lot better that people get up and around, trying to grow their own flowers, vegetables and/or fruits, than giving up because of a horrid aphids attack and again ending up with little or no contact with their outdoorsy environments. And bereft any garden pleasures. But just be conscious. Think twice. Is it really necessary to pour on the poison, or can you live with a some some tattered leaves?
I can clearly see that new gardeners get frustrated when they read that if you plant Marigold you get rid of the aphids. You don’t. You can reduce the population some, but that’s all. Its sad to read about all the folk remedies that get recommended. In my opinion it often frustrate and upset worried gardeners to be even more helpless.
One of the few presumably ecological safe alternative that works OK that I have used is Neem Oil. You can read more about it here.
You don’t get much butterflies and birds in your garden if every fly, wasp and larva is poisoned to death. Try to take care of Texas really beautiful and yet quite surprisingly diverse wildlife, waterways and greenery. Please.