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Eliminating Pesticides, Herbicides and Fungicides

January 02 2010 | Ocean Friendly Gardens,
by Paul Herzog

(From the Ocean Friendly Gardens book)

Pesticides, like other residential pollutants, are swept off our properties during periods of rain and over-irrigation. These pesticides pose a threat to aquatic life and ground water supplies. How you perceive and manage "pests" determines, in part, the amount of pesticides swept off your property. A gardener practicing CPR wants to support the health of the soil and plants such as through applying compost, compost tea, etc. Another tool is to change the composition of their landscape to deter particularly destructive and determined pests. Listed below are a variety of plants that either repel unwanted bugs, or attract beneficial insects, all of which reduces the need for pesticides:

Botanical Name Common Name Type Care & Uses
Achillea spp. Yarrow Perennials. Sun. W (some) Low to moderate water. Attracts beneficial insects.
Allium spp. Ornamental Allium, Chives Perennial bulbs. Sun to some shade. Moderate to regular water. Good protection against slugs and ants. Used in spray to control aphids.
Angelica archangelica Angelica Biennial, fleshy. Sun to shade. Regular water. Good for attracting lacy wings, lady beetles, and parasitic wasps. Edible too.
Artemisia abrotanum Southernwood Shrubby perennial. Sun. W Native. No to low water. Good for repelling ants and aphids.
Artemisia absinthium Wormwood Shrubby perennial. Sun. W Native. No to low water. Helps repel animals.
Borago officinalis Borage Seeding annual. Sun to some shade. Moderate water. Deters tomato worms. An edible that tolerates poor soils.
Coreopsis spp. Coreopsis Annuals and perennials. Sun to some shade. Low to moderate water. Good bloomer. Attracts beneficial insects.
Coriandrum sativum Cilantro Annual. Sun to shade. Moderate water. Attracts beneficial insects.
Eriogonum spp. Buckwheat Shrubby perennial. Sun. W Native. Low to moderate water (depending on specie). Attracts beneficial insects.
Garlic Garlic Perennial. Sun. Moderate water. Helps repel aphids. Good general repellent.
Lavandula spp. Lavender Perennial. Sun. W Low to moderate water. The fragrant varieties help repel moths.
Melissa officinalis Lemon balm Spreading, rooting, seeding perennial. Sun to some shade. Moderate water. A good general repellent for shady spots.
Mentha pulegium Pennyroyal Creeping, rooting perennial. Sun to shade, but not full shade. Regular water. Helps control ants.
Mentha spicata Spearmint Spreading, rooting perennial. Sun to some shade. Moderate to regular water. Helps repel ants and aphids.
Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary Spreading, evergreen shrub. Sun. W Low to moderate water. Good all-around repellent. Effective barrier against snails and slugs.
Sambucus mexicana Blue Elderberry Deciduous shrub or tree. Sun to some shade. W Native. Low to moderate water. The leaves and branches can be stuck down mole and gopher holes.
Santolina spp. Santolina Evergreen shrubs. Sun. W No to moderate water, depending on specie and location. Helps repel moths.
Tagetes lucida Mexican Marigold Perennials, but annual in coldest climates. Sun. Moderate water. Particularly good at controlling nematodes.
Tagetes spp. Marigold Annuals and perennials. Sun. Moderate water. Helps repel whiteflies and nematodes.
Tanacetum vulgare Tansy Sprawling perennial. Sun. Moderate water. Thin out clumps annually. Helps repel ants and flying insects.
Tropaeolum spp. Nasturtium Sprawling, seeding annuals and perennials. Sun to some shade. A, E Low to moderate water. Aphids are attracted to it, and it can be used as a trap if cut and thrown out. It repels whitefly.
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