Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

Do you have additional gardening questions? Please contact us. Here's how.

Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I do organic or natural gardening?

Within the Gardening Help web site, there are several areas for information on organic gardening. The following list discusses these resources and provides links to the specific information.

IPM - Integrated Pest Management

These web pages discuss diagnostic and control measures for 170 of the most common insect, disease and environmental problems encountered in Missouri. Recommendations for control are listed in order from simple, safe organic controls to chemical treatments. The photographs in Beneficial Insects will be especially helpful.

Updated Pesticide Information

The following pesticides are minerals, biologicals or synthetic versions of biological pesticides. They are generally considered acceptable for pest control by organic gardeners.

  1. Copper 
  2. Sulfur 
  3. Specialty-Natural Ingredients 
  4. Corn Gluten Meal 
  5. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) 
  6. Spinosad 
  7. Neem 
  8. Pyrethrins 
  9. Rotenone 
  10. Oil Sprays 
  11. Soap Products
  12. Mach 2 (Extended Season) (synthetic molting hormone )
  13. Iron Phosphate 
  14. Animal Repellents 
  15. Anti-desiccant 
Hortline and Kemper Factsheets

The following Hortline and Kemper Factsheets pages contain information on various organic gardening techniques.

  1. Organic Disease Control
  2. Beneficial Insects
  3. Insecticidal Soaps
  4. Horticultural Oils
  5. Botanical Insecticides
  6. Using Copper and Sulfur for Pest Control
  7. Diatomaceous Earth
  8. Soil Solarization to Control Plant Diseases
  9. Aphids or Plant Lice
  10. Making Compost
  11. Composting Leaves
  12. Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil
  13. Using Wood Ashes
  14. Mulching
  15. Mulches for the Home Garden
  16. Composting Yard Waste 
  17. Mulches 
  18. Green and Sustainable: Water Conservation Options for Home Gardeners 
  19. Naturescaping 
  20. Sustainability: Ways to Go Green in Your Lawn and Garden 
Extension Bulletins

The University of Missouri Extension web site has the following publications on organic gardening.

  1. G6749, Natural Lawn Care
  2. G6959, "Don't Bag It" Lawn Care: How to Recycle Your Grass Clippings, Leaves and Branches 
  3. G6956, Making and Using Compost 
  4. G6958, Grass Clippings, Compost and Mulch: Questions and Answers 
  5. G6960, Mulches 
  6. G6220, Organic Gardening Techniques 
  7. G6955, Improving Lawn and Landscape Soils 
  8. G6202, Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens 
  9. G7273, Least-Toxic Control Methods to Manage Indoor Plant Pests 
Right Plant – Right Place

Choosing a plant that is suited to your area’s climate and your specific location will result in a healthy plant less susceptible to pests and disease. That will result in a decreased need for pesticides – both organic and inorganic. The following websites will help in making these choices.

  1. PlantFinder 
  2. Kemper Factsheets
  3. FAQs