Row by Row Episode 210: Fall Garden Pests
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Row by Row Episode 210: Fall Garden Pests

Row by Row Episode 210: Fall Garden Pests

Fall is quickly approaching! Many of us have already started our seeds for our fall gardens, which means that we are thinking ahead about fertilizing, fall garden pests, and common diseases that happen in the fall.

The fall is a great time to take a soil test and apply soil amendments to prepare the garden for spring planting.  Fall soil testing is preferred by many growers because it allows the entire winter to plan crop rotations and to budget for cover crops and soil amendments for the following season. It's a great time to clean up old debris, till areas that may be harboring pests and put our mulch to drive away overwintering adults.

Natural Ways To Help With Fall Garden Pests

  • Start with clean soil
  • Buy disease and pest-resistant seeds
  • Selectively and Aggressively thin out plants
  • Control Weeds
  • Keep Garden Clean
  • Trap Crops
  • Beneficial Insects
  • Crop Rotation

Top 6 Fall Garden Pests To Watch Out For

Fall Garden Pests


  1. small, soft-bodied insects that feed by sucking the nutrient-rich liquids out of plants. In large numbers, they can weaken plants significantly, harming flowers and fruit. Aphids multiply quickly, so it’s important to get them under control before reproduction starts. Many generations can occur in one season.
  2. Look for misshapen, curling, stunted, or yellowing leaves. Be sure to check the undersides of leaves; aphids love to hide there.
  3. Garden Insect Spray, Neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils are effective against aphids, but these substances need to come into contact with the aphids in order to work.
  4. PREVENTION: Trap crops (mustard, Nasturtium), Beneficial insects, Companion Planting (garlic and chives repel aphids)

Snails and Slugs

Snails can be a difficult pest to get rid of because they are hermaphrodites, which means all of them can lay hundreds of eggs at a time with a gestation period of only 2-3 weeks. They lay more than half of their eggs in the fall making them a prime garden pest. They are most active at night or during rainy days and will feed on anything green. If you don’t get these guys under control, they’ll quickly overrun your garden.

Cabbage Loopers

Cabbage loopers emerge from overwintered cocoons that produce egg-laying moths with brown wings and distinct white markings. These eggs will hatch in late spring with white-striped green larvae. You’ll know you have a cabbage looper in your garden when you find large irregular-shaped holes in the leaves of the lower half of your entire plant and other vegetable crops. Although these predatory insects love cabbages, broccoli, and kale, they’re also known to eat tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, and other garden vegetables. Treat leaf undersides with a safe herbicide as a protective shield against these pests. If you’re unable to remove these plant bugs before fall and you don’t clear.


Whiteflies are yet another type of sap-sucking pest. Small numbers are relatively harmless but large infestations can cause yellow or dry leaves that may fall off the plants. Like other sap-sucking pests, the sweet substance created by whiteflies attracts ants and sooty mold. To control whiteflies, try sticky traps and insecticidal soap or neem oil. Do this early in the day or later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.


Thrips are tiny flying insects with fringed wings. The sap-sucking insects discolor and distort nearly any type of plant. They leave tiny black specks of excrement on the leaves and often create white patches on leaves and petals. Thrips are difficult to control and often require a combination of methods such as sticky traps and insecticidal soap or neem oil


Cutworms are the larval stage of certain moths. The destructive pests hide under leaves or other plant debris, emerging to lay masses of eggs on plants. They eat nearly anything in their paths, often cutting through stems of young plants at ground level.

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