10 Reasons To Use Diatomaceous Earth In The Garden - Backyard Boss
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10 Reasons To Use Diatomaceous Earth In The Garden

Made from the fossilized remains of algae-like organisms called diatoms, Diatomaceous Earth or DE is a porous, ground dust that can combat many everyday problems. Used by sprinkling the powder, or spraying as the water-based solution, it aids in getting rid of unwanted pests in the garden. It is also used as part of various cleaning agents such as toothpaste, cosmetics, and even as a dietary supplement for people and animals.

The composition of this mineral-based pesticide is approximately 3 percent magnesium, 5 percent sodium, 2 percent iron, 19 percent calcium, and 33 percent silicon, along with traces of other minerals. Since the agent has a very high absorbency rate and dehydrating quality, one should avoid inhaling it directly. The best practice is by taking precautionary measures such as wearing gloves and a mask to protect the skin and lungs.

Reasons Why You Should Use Diatomaceous Earth in Your Garden

To combat garden pests

Garden pest
Image credits: gsagi via Canva

When the garden becomes infested by various pests, Diatomaceous Earth comes to the rescue. The dehydration kills earwigs, silverfish, centipedes, and other crawling insects that intend on harming plants and flowers. Even the smallest pests, like aphids, hate the stuff. Only purposeful use is encouraged to avoid killing beneficial insects, like ladybugs.

Get rid of ants

Macro Photography of Red Ant
Image credits: Egor Kamelev via Canva

Since the Diatomaceous Earth is extremely dehydrating, dusting it over an anthill in the garden will quickly force the sensitive ant colony to leave.

Prevent Slugs

Snail on plant
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Gardens with marigolds, hostas, sunflowers, basil, cabbage, and lettuce are especially susceptible to slug infestation. Needing their slime to move and live, the dehydrating powers of DE deter the soft-bodied insects like slugs and snails from crossing the barrier.  It is best to sprinkle some Diatomaceous Earth around the plants when the first slug appears, to prevent them from multiplying and exacerbating the problem.

Control Aphid

Image credits: nidan via Canva

Still, in their growing stages, young plants and shoots do not have the strong structures of adult plants. They also focus all their energy on maturing by absorbing all of the valuable resources, such as water, nutrients from the ground, and sunrays. The aphids take advantage of the vulnerable, sucking the sap and eating at the plant until it is gone in its entirety.

To quickly resolve the problem upon noticing aphids is to sprinkle the infested plant with a mix of Diatomaceous Earth powder and water. The liquid mix is less concentrated than powder by itself and more suitable for young plants. The sprayer allows for full and even coverage. Upon drying, the Diatomaceous Earth does the job of getting rid of the aphid and prevents more from coming on.

Pest Control

Whitefly Aleyrodes proletella agricultural pest on cabbage leaf
Image credits: Andrei310 via Canva

Diatomaceous Earth is the best non-toxic way to eliminate pests in the garden when used strategically. For instance, one does not want to deter bees from pollinating the flowering plants, along with other beneficiaries. This could lead to a withering number of plants, or plants dying off completely. When sprayed timely on those plants in the right doses, the resulting pest control will be most effective and long-lasting.

Discourage rodents

A Squirell Looking for Food
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Gardens are also visited by larger-than-a-dime species, like mice, moles, rats, and rabbits. With much larger stomachs to make a feast of the garden, they can annihilate a single plant in a heartbeat, followed by more. The Diatomaceous Earth is an easy solution when placed strategically in small jars along with the garden with a few drops of peppermint or citrus essential oils. Quickly absorbed by DE, it will curb small creatures’ appetites and make them forget the garden’s address.

Stop ticks, fleas, and mites from growing in numbers

Brown Spider on Green Leaf
Image credits: Erik Karits via Canva

Ticks, fleas, and mites multiply and spread around quickly. An infected animal, such as a dog, can infect other animals and plants through simple contact. Farm animals will also forget about the fur-dwellers eating at their skin when doused with a healthy dose every once and again. A solution of 1 to 4 tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth per gallon of water can be applied liberally through a sprayer on the garden, lawn, and shrubs to prevent any plant and animal pest problems.

Good for chickens and other farm animals

chicken garden
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Farms, country houses, and similar grounds with poultry or goats that may frequent the garden should employ DE in their arsenal to combat pests. According to studies, some Diatomaceous Earth is beneficial to chickens’ diets leading to albumen-rich larger eggs and healthier chicks. By preventing plant infestations to keep the plants pest-free and healthy through DE, will benefit the ladies that are pecking around. Similarly, Diatomaceous Earth helps rid and prevent lice in goats. Therefore, when spraying the delicate plants in the garden, a wandering goat can get a douse every now and then.

Outdoor insect control for the house

dead cockroach with poison powder
Image credits: RHJ via Canva

When pests infest a garden, they can quickly target the indoors and multiply without pest control. This is especially true if the garden enthusiast likes to keep a large variety of indoor plants, as well. A specialty DE sprayer can be applied inside on plants and spaces around. A fine layer of Diatomaceous Earth in powder form can also be sprinkled around the house exterior, paying close attention to cracks and crevices where insects build their nests. This will stop the pests, such as roaches, crickets, and other insects from entering the home.

Mixing DE with potting soil

Hands in Gloves Holding Potting Soil
Image credits: blufish77 via Canva

Many people’s gardens feature potted plants for decoration and for more variety, such as different blooming species in pots. Potted plants can be hung off fences, or placed aesthetically to complement the garden. There, they become susceptible to outdoor pests in the garden. Diatomaceous Earth deters the pests. Its extremely lightweight and porous composure is also excellent when mixed with regular potting soil for hydroponic growing and Bonsai cultures. By creating more tiny pockets of space within the pot’s soil, Diatomaceous Earth helps circulate the air around the plant’s roots, while aiding in drainage for a smoothly working system.

To Sum Up

The powder DE is the most effective non-toxic substance to get rid of or deter garden pests. The optimal composition is 80-90 percent silica with trace clay minerals and a minimum of iron oxide or rust. Mined in North America and European countries, DE comes in three quality levels. The food-grade DE with less than 1%, or even 0.5% of crystalline silica is best for the garden to stay on the safe side of things. We are sure that if you struggle with the above-mentioned problems, DE will help you solve them with ease!

Please let us know what you think about using the diatomaceous earth in your garden, and as always, please share!