Plant diseases and pests can take over a beautiful, well-maintained garden in a heartbeat. Don't let this happen to you -- learn as much as you can about how to prevent harmful pests and diseases from attacking your plants and what to do if you suspect a problem.
If you feel uncertain about what is causing damage to your plants, take a specimen to your local garden shop or your county Cooperative Extension office. You can also use the Insects and Animals and Diseases charts at the end of this article to help you identify the most common garden pests and diseases for annuals or perennials.
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Add foliage to this healthy all-white garden to make it especially attractive.
Once you know what your problem is, you'll need to decide how to control it. When an infestation is slight, it's often possible to simply remove the sick plants or individual insects. For a heavy infestation, you'll probably need to turn to chemical insecticides or fungicides.
Follow manufacturer's instructions precisely and read and follow any cautions on the package label. Apply these chemicals as directed and only when they're absolutely necessary.
One final note: New biological and chemical controls are continually being developed. Those listed on the chart at the end of the article are current at the time of this writing, but more effective, new ones may well be discovered in the future.
Learn about increasing annuals on the next page, including how to collect seeds and take stem cuttings.