Temperature’s the key for good results
Keeping on top of pests organically is one hell of a job but nematodes can be the answer to your prayers – but what are they and how do you use them?
Nematodes are tiny organisms living in the soil, sea or freshwater and feed on bacteria, fungi, protozoans and other nematodes. Depending on the species, they can be beneficial, feeding on garden pests.
BASF, which makes Nemasys, is the only specialist nematode production facility in Britain. Plan what you need now for the year, order online and they’ll be sent out when needed (as living things, they have to be sent out ‘fresh’).
Nemasys has products to control:
- Vine weevils
- Chafer grubs
- Carrot and cabbage root fly
- Onion fly
- Scarid fly
- Gooseberry sawfly
- Codling moth
How to use nematodes
Simply mix with water and apply from a watering can with a coarse rose or sprayed onto the foliage and soil, depending on the variety.
There’s no need to keep children or pets away and as biological controls, they can be used by organic gardeners.
Nemaslug: apply March-October
There are usually two overlapping generations of slugs, with peaks of egg laying in March-April and September-October.
Each slug lays up to 300 eggs, in up to 50 separate batches, so each cubic metre of soil can contain about 200 grown slugs.
The best time to target them is when they are newly hatched, so nematodes are able to attack them before they are in sight, unlike slug pellets.
Use every six weeks throughout the growing season to keep on top of the slimy pests.
Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer: apply March-October
Vine weevils are my nemesis, wrecking Heucheras, strawberries, Rhododendrons and many other plants in my garden. The adult beetles eat foliage, leaving irregular notches in leaves.
It’s the horrible C-shaped cream larvae that do the real damage. They stay in the soil over winter and sever roots, leading to death.
Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer targets the larvae while they are still in the soil, and kill them before they have a chance to cause damage. Use every four weeks throughout the growing season for best effect.
Nemasys Fruit and Vegetable Protection: apply April-October (depending upon pest)
A mix of nematode species to target a broad range of pests:
- Carrot and cabbage root fly, leatherjackets, cutworms, onion fly, ants, scarid fly: April-August.
- Caterpillars, gooseberry sawfly, thrips: May-October.
- Codling moth: September-October.
Nemasys Chafer Grub Killer: apply August-October
Chafer grubs are cream, about 15mm in length, and have distinct legs. They burrow deep into lawns during the winter, where they lie dormant before surfacing in spring as beetles.
The grubs attack grass roots, resulting in slow growth and yellow patches. Wildlife can also create damage by digging the turf to search for the grubs.
Apply between August and October to dramatically reduce the chafer grub population.
Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer: apply August-October
Leatherjackets are about 25mm in length, with greyish black, legless bodies and no distinct head. They are the larval stage of the crane fly, which appears towards the end of August and lays eggs which hatch within two weeks and immediately start to feed on grass roots.
Apply Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer when the leatherjackets are still young and active in the soil, throughout late August to the end of October.
Nemasys No Ants: apply April-September
Yellow ants build nests in lawns, red ants are aggressive and can sting and black ants can nest anywhere.
Apply Nemasys No Ants to runs and nests from April-September.
All of the above are available from stockists online.