Keeping a Garden Ecosystem in Balance

Author: Meera, January 29, 2013

A healthy ecosystem, whether in a forest or a garden, stays in balance in part because of its “grazers” and “predators.” The grazers can range in size from a large plant-eating animal like a cow to a tiny aphid, and predators share this size range, too. Consider for example, a tiger (predator) in a wild, natural environment dining on an antelope (a grazer) or tiny ladybug (a predator for grazing aphids) in a rose garden.


A lush, healthy garden will have an underlying healthy ecosystem. If your garden plants are being devoured by pests, you might want to introduce more of the pests’ natural enemies. For example, if your roses are infested with one or more of the 200 different types of aphids, buy lacewings.


One lacewing larva can destroy roughly 200 pests (and pest eggs) for as long as two or three weeks.  The adult lacewings do not kill insects (they suck nectar and pollen), but their larvae will inject venom into aphids and then suck out the the plant grazers’ body fluids, which destroys those pests.  Adult lacewings will stick around if there are sources of pollen, nectar, and honeydew. They are beneficial to a garden ecosystem because the lacewing larvae feed on spider mites, mealybugs, leafhoppers, thripes, and other unwanted plant grazers.


Take a stroll around your garden on a regular basis. Take note of its ecosystem. Create a healthy garden using organic products when possible. Remember that plants cycle through seasons. There may be periods of the year when your plants seem to be more infested than at other times. Practice tolerance if an infestation is mild. Let nature run its course. If the balance is right in your ecosystem, the predators will take care of the grazers.







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