Pest control

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Rabbits in the Garden

Rabbits in the garden

If you live in one of Ottawa’s many suburbs, chances are you’ve seen them. They hop around like they own the place and no matter how many times you ask them to leave, they return in numbers! They seem to eat almost anything they can get their little paws on. You know what we’re talking about: cute little destructive rabbits!

Although having them around may seem like you’re living in a Snow White enchanted fairytale, reality is they are excellent at destroying vegetable gardens and other beautiful flower arrangements if given the chance. There are ways you can passively combat these furry garden foes and cause no any harm to anyone. By simply planting a few rabbit-resistant perennials around your garden you can ward off their harmful little claws and teeth without causing them any pain.


Start by planting a few Lily-of-the-Nile. These plants bloom in the late summer early fall and blossom into a starburst flower head. They can brilliant bright blue to white in colour. Rabbits don’t like these plants and will steer clear of them, and hopefully any plants surrounding them.


A great plant to ward off bunnies is the snow-in-summer plant. They bloom in the spring and are a fantastic way to fill a large garden space. Snow-in-summer plants are planted from seeds and have a tendency to spread around. They can fill any gaping holes you may have in your garden and be a bunny repellant at the same time!

Blazing Star

Since rabbits are crafty creatures they can likely navigate around a fence with a certain amount of ease. Try planting a row of Blazing Star plants along the fence line and see if that helps to minimize your popularity in the bunny community. Blazing Star plants can grow to be as tall as four feet, so they make excellent backdrops to your garden.


Plants don’t have to be purely decorative to be effective in minimizing your bunny problems. Thyme and oregano make great bunny deterrents while also providing you with a great source for delicious home-grown herbs.

Bunnies are cute in kindergarten classrooms and Saturday morning cartoons, but any homeowner will tell you that they can be quite destructive when playing around in your garden. If you can intentionally plant some bunny-repellant plants in your garden as a safe and easy way to keep them away, your garden will have the chance to flourish all year long.

To learn more about rabbit-resistant plants or discover other gardening tips, talk to the experts at Ritchie Feed & Seed. We are the leading Ottawa garden centre and stock everything you need for your lawn and garden, including seeds, gardening tools, and more!

Your Lawn and White Grubs

lawn grubs

The summer months are here, and that means it should be the time to show your beautiful lawn. A lot of pride can be found in displaying a perfectly manicured lawn with plush green grass, so soft that no shoes are required. That may be the dream, but sadly the reality is there are plenty of little insects that make it their mission to quash your dream. A big culprit of dying grass is the white grub.

How do you identify white grubs?

White grubs are easy to identify. They have a milky white body and a brown head. They curl up into a “C” shape when they’re spooked and they are typically about 2 cm in length. They will be easy to spot when you dig up a portion of your lawn to investigate what has been killing your grass. White grubs do their damage by munching on the roots of your grass. Once the root is damaged the grass will easily detach itself from the root and there goes your plush beautiful lawn.

What problems do white grubs cause?

As mentioned above, white grubs damage your lawn by eating at the grassroots, thereby killing the lawn and leaving unsightly dead patches. But that’s not the only problem they cause. They also attract various rodents such as moles and skunks. These rodents do want to eat the white grubs which will help control the population, however they will certainly rip up your lawn quite furiously to get their snack. Skunks are not something you want hanging around your backyard even if they are assisting with your grub clean up.

How can you get rid of white grubs?

White grubs are not something that can be left up to winter weather to kill off. Unfortunately white grubs hibernate and keep themselves nice and warm and cozy in your soil so they can come back the following year to continue their harvest. As part of the life cycle of white grubs they emerge from the soil as beetles; not quite a beautiful rebirth story such as caterpillar to butterfly. Once the beetles are out of your lawn, don’t think you are out of the woods. You can guarantee they will be back to burrow into the soil again in only a few short weeks to lay their eggs and being the next cycle of life.

If you think your lawn has a white grub problem it’s best to investigate a bit further. Dig up different sections of your lawn to expose the dirt underneath. If you see clusters of white grubs in every patch you dig up, it is in your lawn’s best interest to seek out treatment.

It’s best to treat your lawn for white grubs in either May or early June when they have started to surface after their winter hibernation, or in late summer when the beetles have emerged and have returned to lay their eggs. Pesticides can be used to remove white grubs but be certain to follow all of the safety precautions listed as chemicals can be harmful to not only the white grubs.

With any luck your lawn will soon again flourish! For more tips about taking care of white grubs and other common lawn pests, visit your nearest Ritchie Feed & Seed garden centre in Ottawa, Stittsville, Richmond, Brockville, or Winchester. Our gardening and lawn care experts are here to serve you and help restore the lush green grass you’ve been waiting for.

Keeping Animals Away from Your Garden

ottawa garden centre

Animals love green spaces, such as home gardens, because they know that they’ll find things to eat there (at least, most of the time!). Landscapers and homeowners know, if you want to keep these animals away from your garden, you’ll benefit from learning the best deterrents. We’re here to share some practical tips that are easy to implement:

Know the Enemy

We all love animals, but they have the potential to cause a lot of destruction in gardens. This is why it’s important to know which animal is currently causing damage. While you may have to play detective, you’ll soon know whether a vole, woodchuck, or another type of woodland creature is hanging out in your precious garden (and spoiling all of your hard work!).

After figuring out which animal is the problem, move on by reading about the behaviour of that animal. For example, what does it eat? Is it nocturnal? The more you know about how an animal behaves, the easier it will be to keep the animal out.

Get Rid of Hiding Spots

Most animals love to hide or nest – therefore, eliminating the places where they do hide and nest will help to deter them. For example, if there are piles of brush or clumps of tall grass near your garden, getting rid of them may be very helpful. Also, if there are crawl spaces beneath your sundeck, try to block them so that creatures can’t hide and nest there.

Basically, making your backyard and the surroundings of your home less amicable to animals will help. If it’s not as pleasant to be in your yard, they may go elsewhere and this means that they’ll forage less in your home garden.

Use Scare Devices

Killing animals just for doing what they instinctively do isn’t humane. This is why people use scare devices, rather than doing harm to animals that wreak havoc in their gardens. There are different types of scare devices (imagine a scarecrow in a field to get the general idea) and these are often a lot more high-tech than the scarecrows that farmers use!

Look for ultra-sonic repellers, water sprayers which are activated by motion and reflective tapes. Eventually, animals may realize that these scare devices don’t pose any real threat. However, scare devices may work well until creatures figure out what’s up.

Now that you know a few helpful tips, you’ll be ready to protect your home garden from animals.
Ritchie Feed & Seed has been providing expert advice to Ottawa gardeners since 1927. Have any more questions about gardening or lawn care? We’re happy to help!




Aphids are green, brown, red or black soft-bodied insects that suck plant juices causing stunting and deformation of leaves and blooms. They are found on the underside of leaves, usually on the newer, more succulent growth. They deposit sticky honeydew on the leaves, which can lead to sooty mold. They reproduce quickly and may also spread plant viruses.


Rinse off the aphids if possible and spray with insecticidal soap or End-All.



Spider mites


Spider mites

 Spider mites are tiny sap sucking insects found on the underside of leaves. Warm temperatures and low humidity will cause them to spread more rapidly.  They usually go unnoticed until fine webbing is evident.


 Increase humidity by misting or placing a pebble tray under the pot. Rinse plants with water to remove webbing, then spray with insecticidal soap or End-All.

Spider mites Spider mites




Mealybugs are white, oval and usually covered in a white substance that looks like cotton fluff. They are found individually or in clusters on stems, leaves and where the leaf  joins the stem. They suck plant juices and weaken the plants over time. They crawl slowly and leave sticky honeydew behind.


Use an alcohol soaked cotton swab to remove as many as the insects as possible, then spray with insecticidal soap or End-All.



Scale Insects


Scale Insects:

These are sap sucking insects which will weaken a plant over time. They appear as hard round “bumps” on the underside of leaves and along the stems. They can also emit sticky honeydew, which can be followed by sooty mold.


These can be difficult to treat at the adult stage because they are covered by a hard waxy covering that is impermeable to sprays. If caught early, a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol (50/50 alcohol/water) can be used to wipe them off. Horticultural oil may also be used to spray the plants.

Scale insects





 Whiteflies are small flies with white wings that fly up in large numbers when the plant is disturbed, which can make them difficult to control. These insects multiply quickly and can spread to other plants rapidly. They are most commonly a pest of  indoor plants and are usually found on the underside of leaves. They can cause damage to the foliage by sucking plant juices causing the plants to look unhealthy and stunted. In large numbers, they will deposit a layer of sticky honeydew on the leaves, which may cause a secondary problem with sooty mold. This is a fungus that grows on sooty mold and may also stunt plant growth.



 Isolate the infested plant if possible to prevent spread of insects. Yellow sticky traps will help to catch some of the flies and control their populations. Spray with insecticidal soap or End-All which contains both insecticidal soap and pyrethrins. Because the whiteflies fly off when the plant is disturbed, placing the plant in a clear plastic bag (dry cleaning bag) before spraying may be more effective in their control.


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