Urban Gardening

Readers' Best Pest and Disease Control Tips

You can never have too many options for keeping away the unwanted.


I use hair from the hair salon to keep rabbits away from my plants. K.R., Council Bluffs, IA


Place coffee grounds around plants in pots to deter slugs. J.A.W., Eugene, OR


We use pine needles to deter cats from our garden beds. Also, we top-dress large pots to keep them out. It's worked very well so far. As an added benefit, slugs don't like them either. A.K., Address Unknown


Plant marigolds around roses and other plants to help keep aphids under control. N.G., Evansville, IN

Avoid monoculture plantings:

Plant complementary vegetables near one another to reduce insect invasion and maximize yield. Alternating rows of tomatoes, onions, beets, cucumbers, radishes, corn, spinach, and other food crops is most effective. K.B., Providence, RI

Powdery mildew:

Yogurt water treats rust and other fungus diseases on tomatoes, hollyhocks, and flowering perennials. It also provides calcium. Just dilute yogurt in a gallon jug or other container and pour on foliage on a cloudy day. The bacteria in the yogurt consume the fungus. M., Louisville, KY

Quack grass (good advice for all weeds that spread by rhizomes):

Quack grass is for the birds. Or at least that is how it spreads. My advice is to grasp every last piece with the root intact before it takes over your entire lawn. You wait too long and you may as well let it take over. C.A., Pittsburgh, PA

Nontoxic weed control:

For those weeds in your concrete cracks, spray with vinegar. Gone in 24 hours! R.R., Dunnellon, FL

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