There is only one thing I dislike about my job as a garden designer in New York City… mosquitoes.
Mosquitos seem particular rampant in the Brooklyn brownstone gardens that I design and build.
Lack of air movement in these walled gardens surrounded by tightly arranged architecture are one of the prime reasons for this. Additionally, many of these brownstone gardens are shade gardens. Shade gardens contribute to the mosquito population with moist situations, organic material and standing water.
Most people understand that mosquitoes are lethal transmitter of diseases. From malaria to west nile to the present zika virus.
The number one thing you can do to reduce mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water in your garden.
Eliminate breeding sites by getting rid of standing water anywhere and everywhere including underneath and around downspouts, clogged gutters, drain outlets from air conditioners, dripping faucets, old tires, children's wading tools, over-irrigated and poorly drained lawns, saucers under potted plants, tree stumps, rock depressions, dog bowls and tree holes, watering cans and buckets.
Walk around your property, especially after it rains, and you will be surprised to find plenty of other places where water collects.
As an aside, I have to admit that mosquitos are not as bad as black fly season in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at a vacation property where my assistant and I were forced to wear full-body insect shield clothing with netting over our heads. We were conducting a site analysis as the first phase of developing a residential landscape design.
Protecting yourself by covering exposed skin can only go so far. Your face, ear, neck and hands are still left unprotected at other times.
The best mosquito control in the garden is any product with a high percentage of DEET on exposed skin.
Using citronella scented pelargonums, thyme, candles, catmint, rosemary, marigolds, lemongrass to repel or limit mosquitoes populations does not work. If they did, then my nyc roof garden would be a safe haven from mosquitos. Which it is not.
“Anti-mosquito plants are effective at keeping mosquitoes away from themselves, but they won't help you much” states entomologist Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy of the University of Delaware.
Here are some great tips to repel or eliminate mosquitos from your garden.