How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Protective covers

Sometimes the best way to prevent pest damage is to keep the pests away from the crop with physical barriers. The most common barriers are row covers, hot caps, and other types of plant cages that may be placed over young plants to keep pests out. Various synthetic materials have become available, including vented polyethylene, spunbonded polyester, and woven plastics. Among the easiest to use are the spunbonded or floating row covers that can either be placed on top of the bed with no frames or hoops or be placed over a dome structure. Normally plant covers or cages are kept on only during the sensitive seedling and young plant stages. Place covers on seedlings early so insects will not be able to lay eggs under the cover. Once the young plant gets big enough to tolerate some damage, the cover may be removed. Covers can be left on for complete protection from birds and insects.

Although protective covers may limit the ability to check on the plants regularly or to irrigate easily, unless drip irrigation is installed, they may help the manipulation of other environmental conditions such as humidity and sunlight.

Use covers to protect young plants
Use covers to protect young plants

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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