Where do garden pests spend the winter and how to remove them

Where do garden pests spend the winter and how to remove them
Where do garden pests spend the winter and how to remove them

In late fall, after the leaves have fallen and before the frost sets in, I highly recommend taking a walk around the garden and having a good look at your plants. You’re sure to find a lot of interesting things. This is especially true if you have a magnifying glass or a loupe.

The hated, almost invincible aphids lay their eggs in the bark and bushes. The caterpillars of the codling moth and plum moth overwinter in spider cocoons wrapped around the bark cracks and stumps of old trees. It is they that eat up 90% of your harvest.

To prevent this from happening again next season, I suggest you declare war on garden pests immediately.


Did your apple trees have underdeveloped leaves, buds, flowers, and ovaries during the past season? Look closely to see if there are small, oval-shaped orange eggs in the folds of the bark that are codling moths? This is its “Masterpieces”.

Some pests spend the winter nesting in leaves, entangled in cobwebs, and they can be clearly seen on bare trees. Some pests nibble under the bark of plants and lay their eggs there. Note if there are any prematurely wilted shoots?

And that’s just the visible part of the pest’s dispersal. Rather than wintering on plants that have been blown by the winds of winter frost, many of them winter quite comfortably at their bases, in fallen leaves, and in clods of soil at their roots.

Obviously, after overwintering, they will really swoop down on your plants as the warmth comes in. But plants are weak after winter, they need to grow new leaves to get normal nutrition, and they’ve been eaten. What a harvest and beauty for the eyes and soul.

But there is a spring spraying that is designed to kill all this dirt “at the root”. That’s true. But wouldn’t it be better to not give pests (and diseases too) a chance to winter comfortably with a preventative fall garden treatment? Especially if your garden has suffered from pest infestations in past seasons.


Until you treat your sprayer, there are many things you can treat by hand without using chemicals. For example, if you find a nest of eggs or overwintering caterpillars on a tree, simply scrape them off gently with the back of a knife blade (not a sharp blade).

Old, flaking, dead bark should be gently removed with a spatula or scraper. Don’t forget to spread a film or thick cloth over the root area, or better yet, simply burn off all the deadwood and pests that have accumulated there. After such “stripping”, the cleaned trunk can also be painted white.

The stucco composition: 10 liters of water, 2 kg of freshly quenched lime, and about the same amount of clay. The higher the degree of whitewashing, the better.

To destroy the comfort of pests and diseases that overwinter under the plants, the easiest way is to remove all the fallen leaves and bury them deep in the far end of the garden. Or put it on the compost pile, but only if you make sure your compost pile is the right one and is heated to about 60 degrees.

Of course, the soil underneath the plants should be turned over (if you dig) or covered with a thick layer of mulch (pine needles, decomposing sawdust). In the first case, much will be on the surface, either falling into the hands of birds or undergoing the purifying effect of frost.

In the second case, pests that overwinter safely will find it difficult or impossible to reach the ground in the spring. The choice of method is up to you, and I think it is best to combine them: a heavy rhizosphere or bed in the fall, followed by a thick mulch.

Of course, all cocoons found in the canopy as well as mummified fruit should be removed and burned.


But most likely, no matter how hard you try, even with just a few trees and shrubs, you’re unlikely to clear your garden of all pests by hand. Without the help of chemicals, you can’t get away from them.

Today, there are many preparations for treating pests and diseases in the garden. When choosing a product, read the directions carefully and check the recommended temperature.

For example, some products work at temperatures above 50°F (10°C), but for late fall spraying, this is not the ideal temperature. After all, it should be done at full leaf drop and at positive temperatures – optimally 41°F (5°C) – and spraying at negative temperatures is not recommended.

However, it is at this time that the bark of the plant thickens, the buds close completely, and become invulnerable to frost, which allows you to use a strong solution of the preparation, during the vegetative period (on the leaves), you can not spray trees and shrubs. Let’s remember the inexpensive and time-tested remedies.


Urea has proven itself to be very good. At the right concentration, it can burn infected spores and pest eggs deposited on the bark, in fact, it is both a fungicide and an insecticide. The key is to choose the right concentration.

If your garden was not seized by any disease epidemics or pest invasions last season, it can be traditionally considered “clean” and Urea is used at a concentration of 200-300 grams per 10 liters of water (in a cup 200 ml-130 g).

If the garden has problems – aphids, honeydew, scab, powdery mildew, etc. – it is worth using a stronger solution: 500 g or even 700 g per 10 liters of water.

Many gardeners know that Urea is an excellent nitrogen fertilizer that promotes the vegetation of plants. In fact, when sprayed in early spring, Urea stimulates plant growth in addition to getting rid of pests and diseases. However, when sprayed in late fall, the temperature is already cooler and will not cause any growth, so it is safe to use.

Iron Alum

Iron sulfate – another popular means for late fall garden spraying. In a “clean”, not sick garden, make a concentration per 10 liters of water – 200-300 g (in a 200 ml cup – 180 g), and if the garden is sick, then 500 g per 10 liters of water.

In the old manuals on gardening, meet and 800 grams, but perhaps it is too much. Here is a method of mixing Urea and iron sulfate that will produce a greater effect, and in the same concentration, forming a so-called “potting mixture”.

By the way, the use of a 3% solution of iron sulfate can effectively combat lichens on tree trunks and branches, as it often does in their porous structure, and therefore can comfortably survive the winter of pathogens and insect pests.

Copper sulfate

Spray the garden before winter at a concentration of 300 grams per 10 liters of water (210 grams in a 200 ml cup). And if you add lime to copper sulfate, you get Bouillie bordelaise, which has been popular among gardeners around the world for more than a hundred years.

However, it is worth mentioning that during its preparation you need to follow certain rules and order of action. For eradication sprays in late autumn, you can use a 3% variant of this fungicide.

There is an interesting group of preparations containing preparations of emulsions of mineral oil, which after spraying them on the plants form a film that does not allow the passage of air.

As a result, the plants are not harmed at all, the ecology is not harmed, and all those pathogens and pests that hibernate on the plants are simply suffocated.

For pests, on the other hand, it is impossible to get used to such conditions, and the preparation can be applied effectively every year.

It is possible to apply other more modern preparations for garden treatment in autumn, but I repeat, some of them have restrictions on the temperature of application, be aware of this.

How to remove garden pests
How to remove garden pests


Remember also that all these agents are effective on contact, i.e. when they directly hit spores, eggs, or larvae. It is therefore very important: during this treatment, trees and shrubs must be completely soaked from the top to the bottom of the trunk.

It is also worth treating the root zone of the plant. Admittedly, keep in mind that not all preparations are good for the soil, the microflora in the soil, and plant nutrition.

It is still important to remember: If even a small area with overwintering spores is left untouched, they will disperse again in the garden in spring, and the surviving larvae or ovipositors will produce a new generation of pests.

Therefore, it is best to use modern gasoline or electric sprayer capable of producing a fine mist preparation that penetrates the smallest pores and cracks in the bark. In some cases, special preparations – adhesives that ensure good contact between the chemical and the plant bark – can also be helpful.

A special topic is stem pests (such as sapwood). They can be identified by the holes in the bark. They are difficult to control. In the initial stages, only the affected branches need to be cut and burned, but with a strong infestation, manual collection or even spraying will not be fruitful.

Therefore, in autumn you can try stem injection, for example with the drug “Pirimiphos-methyl”, which is injected into the hole with a syringe.


An important pest control measure is to attract birds into the garden. To do this, it is worth hanging bird feeders from late autumn (only feed birds during frosty weather) and even providing them with shelter from bad weather.

No one is better at finding and destroying pests hiding in hiding places than birds. And woodpeckers and starlings will even get the pests on tree trunks.

Of course, birds, hand cleaning, and late fall garden treatments can’t completely solve all the problems in your garden. It is, therefore, worth repeating the same checks and treatments with the same products in early spring before the plants wake up in order to build on the success.

And don’t forget to observe safety precautions. Respirators, rubber gloves, overalls – the necessary attributes for any chemical treatment of the garden. By the way, gloves should be worn when collecting some overwintering caterpillars, which can be toxic.

Have a good overwintering season in your garden!

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