Fall has arrived in the desert southwest, despite what the thermometer says.

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What do you do when you see damaging insects such as aphids sucking on your plants?

Do you reach for the nearest bottle of insecticide? Pluck them off or spray them with a hose?  

Believe it or not, sometimes the best thing is to do nothing.  I learned this lesson long ago before I went to school to become a horticulturist.

I remembered this important lesson when I passed by a severely pruned oleander shrub on my way to our weekly bagel lunch after church.  

The oleanders were growing back nicely.  However, there was some yellow aphids on the young leaves.

Years ago, my oleander shrubs had an infestation of yellow aphids like this, and I was anxious to get rid of them.

I had several methods at my disposal – insecticidal soap, a strong jet of water or my fingers – all of which, would help get rid of most of the aphids.  But, life got in the way, and I didn’t have a chance to get out to treat my shrubs until about ten days later.  

Can you guess what I found?  Not a single aphid.  I didn’t have to do a thing, and the aphids were gone, and my shrubs look great.

So, what happened to the aphids?

When harmful insect pests first appear, it can take a week or two before their natural predators follow.  In the case of aphids, lacewing and ladybugs showed up and ate the aphids.  

Plants are tougher than we give them credit for and can handle a certain amount of insect pests without any adverse effects to the plant itself.  

So, when I come back in a couple of weeks to the same bagel shop, I expect to see no aphids in sight and a healthy oleander shrub.

I realize that it is hard to think of doing anything in the garden, much less step outside with the heat wave that we have been experiencing in the Southwest.

The good news is that you can most likely wait to step out into your garden this weekend, once the heat wave breaks.

Check out my latest monthly “To Do” list that I wrote for

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I hope you are doing your best staying cool 🙂

Do you ever wonder what you should be doing in your garden in a particular month?

As a freelance writer, I write a few monthly gardening articles and newsletters.

So, instead of writing an entirely new blog post, here is my latest “What To Do In The Garden” article for the Southwest that I wrote for
(I hope you don’t think I am lazy, but I would rather not write the same thing twice 😉