Is there a substance that is just as useful to a gardener as diatomaceous earth?
Probably not! This naturally occurring substance, often referred to simply as DE, has a number of benefits for gardeners. What is it? It’s a simple compound made from petrified aquatic plants known as diatoms. The calcareous debris left behind by the plants is called kieselguhr, which is then broken down and ground to form a powdered kieselguhr.
Here are some of the top uses and benefits of diatomaceous earth for the garden – which ones are you going to try today?
13 advantages of kieselguhr for the garden
1. Repels aphids
Diatomaceous earth is also incredibly effective at getting rid of aphids. These are some of the most common garden pests that you will find. They reproduce quickly and can seriously damage all types of edible and decorative garden plants, such as roses. Simply dust the area with dry powder or apply with a sprayer. You may need to reapply every few days.
2. Repel rodents
If you have a compost heap, or have a tendency to leave piles of rotting fruit or produce in your garden, there is a good chance that you will face rodents at some point. One easy way to get rid of them is to use diatomaceous earth. Rats, moles, and mice really hate the powder, especially when it’s combined with the scent of various essential oils like lemon citrus and peppermint.
3. Kill maggots
If you have unused compost piles lying around, you may have noticed maggots make them their home. Unfortunately, unless you have a whole coop of chickens to address the problem for you, it is up to you to take care of it yourself.
Fortunately, diatomite back to the rescue. Just dust your compost heap with some DE and it will dry out the maggots’ bodies for you.
4. Preserve cut flowers
Do you want to preserve your cut flowers so you can enjoy them many seasons later? EN to the rescue again! You can use a mixture of diatomaceous earth to keep your flowers fresh during the seasons.
5. Improves soil porosity
Diatomaceous earth is not necessarily a fertile substance – it does not provide much nutrition on its own. However, it has the unique ability to hold back fertilizer and return it to the roots of the plants. It’s also porous, which makes it a great addition to your soul if you’re gardening in containers or growing other types of plants that like well-drained media, like bonsai plants and those that grow hydroponically.
6. Removes mosquitoes and fruit flies
If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably gotten very close to mosquitos once or twice. These small winged insects are often found near overripe fruit, potted plants, overwatered soil, or even in areas where trash or trash accumulates.
It doesn’t take much to attract them – in fact, anything even remotely moist can attract these pesky pests. Unfortunately, as annoying as they are to you, they are even more harmful to plants. They can lay their eggs in the ground and feed on fungus, algae, and rotting plant matter, which can ultimately damage a plant’s health.
You can easily use diatomaceous earth to get rid of them. All you have to do is pollinate your plants with DE to keep them dry. This will also dry out any mosquitoes that land there or their larvae. Add a little more each time you water – it will keep other insects at bay too, like black and whiteflies.
7. Kill ants
There are several reasons ants might settle in your yard. Most of the time, they were drawn there because they are attracted to honeydew, the sticky, sweet substance that aphids give off when they feed on your plants. Fortunately, you can get rid of ants by making a trail of diatomaceous earth. It is most effective on ornamental and edible plants.
8. Remove the augers
Diatomaceous earth can also get rid of snails. Snails have soft bodies and the sharp particles of diatomite penetrate them, cut them deeply and dry them out. All you have to do is make a thin circle of the powder around your plants and you should no longer have problems with slugs and similar pests – like cut worms and caterpillars – destroying your plants. We also have a great DIY project to keep your garden safe from snails and slugs.
9. Get rid of hornets and wasps
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to work in your yard only to come back into the house minutes later with a million hornet stings.
Wasps are vital to the health of your garden and help control harmful pests such as aphids and caterpillars. However, you may want to get rid of wasps with diatomaceous earth if you have had a lot of problems in the past.
Apply only to areas sensitive to dust and reapply every time it rains. They will not build their nests in areas that have been treated with this powder.
10. Use it as a deodorant
Diatomaceous earth is also a highly effective deodorizer. If you have a spot in your yard that your cat likes to use as a litter box, all you need to do is mix some diatomaceous earth into the top layer of the soil. You can also just sprinkle it on top. This will help smooth out unpleasant odors in a hurry.
11. Eliminate ticks
Ticks won’t necessarily harm your garden plants, but they can make working in your garden a serious hazard. You can get rid of them by creating a perimeter dust of diatomaceous earth. It helps prevent ticks from clinging and spreading dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to you. How to prevent tick bites while hiking or traveling.
12. Eliminate flies
House flies can also be eliminated with a little kieselguhr. Not only do flies feed on many types of garden plants, which affects their overall health, but they sometimes bite people and can transmit a lot of diseases as well.
The easiest way to pollinate flies is with kieselguhr. While the smell and high humidity of your garden are likely to attract flies to these areas, using diatomaceous earth will help get rid of them for good. We also have a lovely DIY fly catcher that you can use.
13. Get rid of many other insects
While we have listed many insects against which diatomaceous earth is effective, the above list is far from comprehensive. In fact, kieselguhr is also very effective as a natural insecticide against thrips, earwigs, bed bugs, flea beetles, cockroaches and snails.
It does not harm worms or beneficial microorganisms that live in the soil.
Use of diatomite
If you plan to use kieselguhr around edible plants, it is important that you only use kieselguhr Food grade diatomaceous earth. You don’t want to use the type that was designed for swimming pool filters because they have a different chemical makeup that may not be very good for you.
Wear a dust mask when applying diatomaceous earth to prevent you from breathing in too much. It can easily irritate the mucous membranes in the mouth and nose.
Otherwise, however, it shouldn’t pose a threat to you, your pets, or beneficial wildlife. It is important to note that you should avoid using diatomaceous earth at times when your plants need to be pollinated, as this can deter pollinators like honeybees from visiting your plants.
Isn’t it time you gave all of these potential gardening benefits a try?