The Q&A Archives: Controlling Vine Borers

Question: For the last three years, we have had problems with vine borers in our vegetable garden. I have tried chemicals but would prefer not to. This year we are giving the soil/vegetables a time-out and planting some wildflowers instead. Will this really help eliminate the moths? Do I still need to use chemicals in this garden? We would like to replant the vegetables in this site within the next few years but hope to eleminate this problem before we start again. Chris McCoy East Lyme, CT

Answer: Vine Borers can be controlled with good garden sanitation and a little diligence. Plants that will help to repel borers are radishes, marigolds, tassy, and nasturiums. Using a dense mulches, sawdust, compost or plastic, instead of straw or hay will eliminate hiding places. Removing vines and garden debris will eliminate wintering over areas. During the growing season you can hunt and pick off eggs. Some gardeners have had success laying aluminum foil around the base of the plant to reflect light back up to the adults and confuse them. A good spray is sabadilla. Planting in a different area from a previous year will also help keep them under control.

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