When gardening in the fall you will notice that many of the garden pests and problems we have had during the growing season have come and gone. There are some pests and diseases however that hang in right through to frost. Pests in the garden to continue looking out for are aphids, snails and slugs. Check plants for chewed leaves, unhealthy growth and sticky substances. The best way to rid yourself of these creatures is to simply pick them off your plant, or snip off the affected areas. These clippings should go into the trash, not your compost.
Mildew loves the fall with its moisture and cooler temperatures. Powdery mildew often starts in summer and carries right through the fall. Rusts on the other hand prefer the cooler temperatures of fall. Mildew will appear as discolored grey-white fuzzy patches on the leaves and stems. Rust will create rust-orange colored spots, slightly raised, on the undersides of the leaves. You will also notice weakened growth and dropped leaves and or buds. As soon as you notice these irregularities pick off the affected parts and dispose of in your garbage. Clean up any dropped leaves and discard as well. Wash your snips and gloves under water too. The trick is to stop the mold or fungi from spreading. If a plant is affected in many areas the best thing to do is cut everything off right to the ground and clean up all debris after.
Continue to be diligent with weed removal. This is a time when many weeds go to seed to haunt you in the spring. Dealing with them now before they self seed will save you hours of weeding later next spring.
Check plants for overgrowth or crowded positions. Garden insect pests and diseases are encouraged in this situation. The remedy is to move over crowded plants to a new area and divide others to move around your garden or share.
If you notice a particular plant always has problems with pests or disease, simply get rid of it and replace with something more suitable. It means that the plant is unhealthy and does not like your growing conditions. Always in a stressed state makes the plant much more susceptible to these problems. Take a good look at your garden conditions and choose plants that are more acceptable to it.
If you really love a particular plant that is prone to problems, seek out cultivars of that plant that are more resistant to diseases. For instance if you love the cottage look of tall phlox in your garden stick to varieties like ‘David’ or ‘Bright Eyes’. Both of these are a better bet against disease problems. It will take a bit of time to research your plant but save you countless hours of problems later. Your best solution in the control of pests and diseases is to be proactive.