SOIL GNATS – Revisited –

 I have gotten a few E-mail’s about a pest called a soil gnat or fungus gnat.   I too have had to deal with these pests over the years.  Whenever I buy cheap soil at a store, which I have done now and again, I end up with soil gnats.  This is especially true if the soil’s are stored outside, where wild soil gnats can get in and start their life cycle.   I first recommended watering from the bottom, so that the top of the soil is almost always dry (this is a way to reduce soil gnats, but might not give you the best growth rate - read post on soil moisture).   Unfortunately, what I have noticed is that the soil gnats, which need moist soil to reproduce, simply go and get to their food/nesting areas through the small drain holes in the bottom of the pots. 

If you have noticed this too, one new thing you may want to try is the felt cloth pots.  I have and continue to use these cloth pots.  The idea is the gnats cannot get through the cloth at the bottom.  One warning,  I have noticed the cloth pots, since they are cloth can be flimsy.  I use the ½, 1 and 2 gallon sizes.  I have used the three gallon size, but it would not hold its shape too well  so that whenever I watered it, some water would drip out THROUGH the felt cloth over the tray below.   I ended up transplanting the banana tree in the 3 gallon cloth pot into a larger hard plastic pot.   I recommend trying some non-chemical solutions to dealing with soil gnats, I have listed chemical waysto treat soil gnats in my previous post.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

No comments: