Every enthusiastic gardener knows that sinking feeling when you realise some or other critter is busy destroying your crop of veggies or ornamental garden plants.

Knowing some of the most common pests in the garden will guide you to take the right steps to prevent and get rid of them. 


Nematodes are small parasitic worms that extract the juice from the roots of plants. Their eggs form nodes on the roots which slow down the growth of plants or cause them to die. Apply mulch, compost and organic fertiliser which produce organisms that feed on nematodes. Plant African marigolds as it secretes a substance through their roots that is poisonous for nematodes. An extract of Marigold flowers can also be sprayed as a deterrent. 


Leafminers are flies whose tiny larvae feed on plant tissues. Leafminer larvae tunnel between layers of leaf tissue, creating squiggly tunnels and lines on leaves.

Cut off affected leaves and destroy them to prevent further infection. The damage to plants by leafminers is seldom severe enough to seriously harm the plant.

Plant lots of flowering herbs in the garden to attract beneficial insects to help control the leafminers 


Hornworms are nocturnal moths and their caterpillars are green with white stripes

on the side with a horn protruding from the posterior. They feed at night and hide in the foliage during the day.

Hornworms especially attack members of the tomato family, including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tobacco. The hornworm leaves dark pellets of excrement behind. Damage is eaten leaves, often toward the top of the plants.

Plant flowering herbs near susceptible plants. Tiny herb flowers attract tiny parasitic wasps that use the worms as hosts for their young 


Cutworms are night-flying moths. Their larval caterpillars are found in the top few inches of soil. They can be brown, green, yellow, or grey, depending on the species. They curl up when disturbed.  Cutworms attack any young seedling that is susceptible, but favour plants like tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and cabbage. The worms chew off seedlings at ground level or chew the outer stem tissue. Severed or wilted seedlings is a clear sign of cutworms.

Protect the stems of young seedlings with a covering such as a cut-off piece of toilet paper tube pushed into the soil.  


 Aphids are small sap-sucking insects that feed on the nutrient-rich plant liquid causing distorted and deformed leaves and growth. Aphids have many natural enemies like birds and other insects. They are easy to remove by hand or to target with liquid sprays such as soap and water.

In your edible plants pests tends to showcase their damages only after a few days, then you need to act quickly. Yu can lose most of your edible seedlings due to pests feeding of the nutrients of the plants. It is important to know what treatment is best for the pest.

And which treatment is safe to use on your edible plants since you do not want damaging chemicals active in the fruit or veggies when you harvest them.

Ornamental plants are easier you can treat most of them with Systematic Insecticides that are not harmful to pollinators and birds but do kill pest suckling on the plants during spring and summer.


If you are unsure what is the best treatment for when pest occur in your garden Greenside Staff is her e to assist. Our staff in well trained and informed on the best course of treatment.