How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Reflective mulches

Reflective mulches repel invading insect populations, reducing numbers on seedlings and small plants. To put a reflective mulch in your garden, remove all weeds and cover beds with silver polyethylene mulch, which is available in rolls from various gardening supply outlets. Bury the edges with soil to hold them down. After the mulch is in place, cut 3- to 4-inch diameter holes and plant several seeds or single transplants in each. You will need to place drippers under the mulch for irrigation. If applied early, mulches can be effective in reducing viruses spread by aphids. When temperatures get high, mulches may be removed to avoid overheating or burning of some plants. An alternative to purchasing silver mulch is to cover pieces of cardboard with aluminum foil or to spray landscape fabric, rolls of construction paper, or clear plastic mulch with reflective silver paint.

Aluminum foil mulch
Reflective mulch


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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