• Landscape

    Protecting Your Small Garden Design From Indiana Pests and Bugs

    Whether you have an expansive or small garden design, you’d like to protect it from pesky insects and other pests. At Hittle Landscaping, we know how important outdoor spaces can be to rest and relaxation. Let’s review common pests you’ll find in Indiana so you can recognize them if they begin to invade your garden retreat.  

    First – What’s Considered Small Garden Design

    Before we get started, let’s review the term “small garden design.” Generally, this means a smaller garden space, just big enough for a few plants and perhaps a chair or bistro set. You may find these spaces attached to a condo, townhouse or similar house footprint.

    In some cases, a larger home may have a small garden design as part of an interior courtyard space or set off from an owners’ suite. Some homeowners choose a small garden design to highlight a particular interest, such as herb or organic gardening.

    Some choose to have a cutting garden for indoor floral arrangements. A small garden design can be simple or elaborate, depending on the property, architecture and the taste of the homeowner.

    Indiana Pests Common in a Small Garden Design


    Grubs are the larvae of Japanese Beetles. They look like small, whitish caterpillars. In early to mid-summer, they hatch from their eggs underground and feed on the roots of your grass. This may result in brown patches in your grass. If you tug on still green grass, it may feel weak and loosely attached to the ground. This indicates root damage, possibly from grubs.

    In the fall, they go dormant in the soil and emerge in the spring to feast again. There are multiple programs to apply to rid your lawn of these nasties. One popular organic method is to introduce a bacterium to your soil known as paenibacillus popilliae.

    When grubs are closer to the surface and feeding, they are vulnerable to exposure and consequential development of a disease known as “milky spore.” The grubs ingest the bacteria spores during normal feeding on roots and the bacteria reproduces in their system.

    The grub typically dies within one to three weeks and as the grub decays, billions of new spores permeate the soil. This method is preferred because it does not introduce chemicals into the lawn. It’s also safe for birds, bees, beneficial insects like ladybugs, pets and people.

    There are specific guidelines to follow in the application so it’s best to consult a professional. In Indiana, we share planting zones between 5 and 6, which places us in a favorable position for the use of the milky spore-causing bacteria. In colder zones it is less effective over the winter.

    Japanese Beetles

    If left to mature, grubs become Japanese Beetles and in Indiana, they typically hatch in June. They are easily recognized by their shiny green and gold bodies and the swath of destruction in their wake. They easily destroy leaves with an obvious chewed or lacey pattern.

    Fruit plants and trees, as well as showpiece plants, like roses, seem to be most desirable to these destructive pests. Do not purchase the “bag traps” and hang them in your yard. This can draw more beetles to your location.

    You can employ row covers during the six to eight-week feeding period. You can shake them from plants or to kill them, collect them by hand or dropcloth and drown them in a pail of soapy water.

    If you prefer to spray something in your small garden design, use a product with neem oil. This can be effective because the adults ingest a chemical in the neem oil and pass it on in their eggs. The larvae, or grubs, die before adulthood.

    Deer and Rabbits

    Depending on your environment, you may have deer and rabbits in your garden. Even if you don’t think so, you may be surprised as they continue to proliferate even in more urban environments. You can employ a few different strategies to deter them.

    When planting bulbs, for example, you may choose those deer do not prefer. Many varieties are rabbit-resistant as well and include daffodils, crocus, snowdrops and irises. More extreme methods include deterrent sprays which may include predator urine, such as coyote. This method is not advised for edible plants.

    Take Advantage of Hittle’s Complimentary Consultation

    Whether you have an expansive property or specifically want to develop a small garden design, we’re eager to get to know you and your landscaping needs. At Hittle Landscaping, we bring more than 40 years of expertise in thoughtful landscaping, lighting and design to create something extraordinary for you.

    Locally-owned and operated, Hittle Landscaping applies our trademark attention to detail to any challenge. To explore small garden design ideas for your property, call today for a free consultation with a professional landscape designer.

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