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Now, That's Meshed Up: Covering Your Plants To Protect Them From Insects

A white flowered plant.
Got goutweed in your garden? Charlie Nardozzi has some ideas for you.

If you are a gardener who is squeamish about squashing garden pests or using sprays and insecticides, there is another way to protect your plants from critters! 

Garden pests like leaf miners, cabbage worms and swede midges needn’t munch away unheeded on all your hard work before you can harvest. Instead of using sprays and pesticides, cover your plants with micro-mesh instead.

Micro-mesh is much like a light-weight window screen, but is more flexible. When laid out on your garden plants and flowers, the mesh blocks the pests from entering but lets in the sun, rain and air, plus your eyesight. And it lasts years!

Q: This plant that looks like Queen Anne’s lace has invaded my garden. The leaf doesn’t match any of the Vermont invasives that mock Queen Anne’s Lace that I can find. I have tried heading the flowers so it wouldn’t re-seed, attempted to cover it and dig it up, all to no success. How do I get rid of it, or can I? — Doreen, in Burlington

This looks like goutweed, also known as bishop's weed. It's one of those ground covers brought from Europe that does too well and spreads too quickly and can take over. You need to draw a line and decide to not let it spread.

Here's how: After a heavy rain, go out and dig it all up as best you can, then cover it with a heavy tarp and leave it. Then next spring, remove the tarp and the dead plants, take out any other remaining ones, and replace the soil.

Another key thing is to dig a trench around the area, 8-10 inches deep, and put in hedging. That will keep it from encroaching on your other perennials.

a grey line

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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