Velcro Industries Gardening Expert Charlie Nardozzi on Summer Gardening and Pest Control

The summer garden is booming, but so are the pests! Most gardeners want to avoid spraying harmful chemicals, so how do you combat the beetles, caterpillars, mildew diseases, and rabbits safely and effectively? Luckily, there is a lot you can do. Here’s a rundown of some tips.


  • Disease Resistant Plants-  Diseases, such as powdery mildew, can attack many flowers and vegetables and eventually kill them. The solution is to grow mildew resistant varieties such as ‘Jacob’s Cline’ bee balm and ‘David’ phlox.

  • Block Insects and Animals-  Floating row cover is a white, cheesecloth-like fabric that lets light, water and air in, but keeps critters out. Many vegetables, such as broccoli, lettuce, and carrots, can grow to maturity protected under a row cover. Secure them to raised beds with VELCRO® Brand Garden ties or with VELCRO® Brand Sticky Back for Fabrics fasteners so no one sneaks in.

  • Fence Out Animals- Thwart rabbits and woodchucks with 4 foot tall wire fence that’s dug 1 foot into the ground and angled away from the garden to prevent them from digging under it. Stop deer with a 7 foot tall fence or repellent sprays. Always rotate 2 to 3 repellent different sprays featuring dried blood, garlic, rotten eggs and cayenne pepper so animals don’t get used to any one smell.

  • Distract Birds- Hang aluminum pie plates, old CDs, or reflective tape around the plants to distract birds. You can cover prized bushes with bird netting.

  • Handpick Bugs- In the morning while they’re sluggish, handpick Japanese beetles, potato beetles, cucumber beetles and squash bugs and drop them into a pail of soapy water. 

  • Organic Sprays- If you must spray use organic products such as Neem oil or insecticidal soap. It’s best to use sprays that target specific insects such as Thuricide that only kills only caterpillars such as cabbageworms.

Looking for more gardening tips? Charlie has a monthly column that you can find here. For products to help bring his ideas to life in your garden, visit our gardening solutions page.

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