Organic Thrips Repellents

August 7, 2009 by Rick


Kaolin Powder Clay at Amazon for $9.00 per pound has been shown to confuse and or make feeding difficult for thrips insects that attack vegetables and ornamental plants.

Kaolin Powder Clay - 1 lb., (Frontier)

In an article, Thrips Research in Florida, details of how the clay might be used in combination with tea-tree oil, lemongrass oil or geraniol to significantly reduce thrip feeding and the viruses transmitted by the feeding.

In a previous article, Mama Mia - Garlic Extract Controls Garden Pests , we talked about how effective garlic extract is for us in production as a soil drench. Other Florida growers have found that weekly spraying one quart per half acre per 100 gallons of Alsa (garlic extract) controls thrips as well as synthetic chemicals on crops like crotons. The goal is to find enough alternatives to make control as safe as possible and still effective. We also want to not make thrips resistant to synthetic chemicals by overuse. We have made great strides recently. Let us know what you have found to be most effective against Florida pests.

Mama Mia - Garlic Extract Controls Garden Pests

June 4, 2009 by Rick

Garlic_cloves clip_image001

When thrip or aphid insects blow in at Riverview Flower Farm we use Alsa once per week, a garlic extract, to control these pests. We add it to irrigation water that is applied to the soil at the top of the pot through our drip irrigation system. It is in a solution of the 8 ounces of water we give each gallon pot on hot sunny days when pests are in the plants. This is absorbed into the plant roots and translocated throughout the plant and flowers and stays active for about a week.

Alsa is a natural crop protection product that relys on the odor and taste compounds derived from garlic. These compounds, effective against harmful insects such as thrips and aphids, are present in garlic and effective when they are correctly dissolved in oil.

When garlic extract is applied, the scent and flavor of your plant changes in such a way that insects no longer find it attractive. The insects become restless and leave their hiding-place. Natural predators are then much more effective in the fight against pests. Preventative use of garlic extract ensures your plant remains in healthier condition. Garlic extract is not 100% effective and no pesticide is but it significantly reduces the use of synthetic Chemicals so there is less impact on the environment.

Garlic extract remains active in the plant for approximately 7 to 10 days. After this active period, the compounds are transformed within the plant which are recycled and used in natural plant metabolism. Thus, weekly doses of garlic extract are recommended when you have thrip or aphid infestations. Garlic extract can be used on any plant, any stage of growth, and cannot be mistakenly over-used. Garlic extract is natural and safe.

Chili thrips are a problem on roses in hot weather. Garlic extract disrupts their destructive feeding tendencies. You will find ready to use garlic extract in stores and online. Homemade garlic extract recipes are easily found with a Google or Bing search. Look for ones that recommend soil drenching for absorption by the plant roots. The trick is to allow the crushed garlic to steep in the oil long enough to release effective levels of odor and taste compounds. Pay attention to their cautions and warnings so you are not destroying beneficial insects or your plants by misuse. You can learn much more reading these books by Jeff Gillman.

Welcome to our Florida Friendly Plants Blog

January 19, 2009 by Rick

We plan to share through numerous posts our enthusiasm and experience as long-time Florida gardeners and horticulturists. Our hope is that your gardening efforts will be successful and enjoyable.  We’ll share ways to make your yards and patios beautiful while following the University of Florida's Nine Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping:


1) Right Plant, Right Place: Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides.


2) Water Efficiently: Irrigate only when your lawn needs water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy yard and conservation of limited resources.


3) Fertilize Appropriately: Less is often best. Over-use of fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment.


4) Mulch: Maintain two to three inches of mulch to help retain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.


5) Attract Wildlife: Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can conserve Florida’s diverse wildlife.


6) Manage Yard Pests Responsibly: Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.


7) Recycle: Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings composted and recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.


8) Reduce Storm water Runoff: Water running off your yard can carry pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, soil and debris that can harm water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent pollution.


9) Protect the Waterfront: Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach, is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.


More details can be found here:


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