Companion Planting and Insect Pest Control
Abstract, 2013, InTech
Companion planting has received less attention from researchers than other diversification schemes (such as insectary plants and cover crops), but this strategy is widely utilized by organic growers [8, 9]. Generally, recommendations on effective companion-target pairings come from popular press articles and gardening books, which make claims of the benefits of bringing together as companions aromatic herbs, certain flowers , or onions (Allium L. spp.) ; nearly always, vegetables are the protection target. However, these recommendations most-commonly reflect the gut-feeling experiences of particular farmers that these pairings are effective, rather than empirical data from replicated trials demonstrating that this hunch is correct. Indeed, more-rigorous examinations of companion-planting’s effectiveness have yielded decidedly mixed evidence [e.g. 9, 14 and 15]. Here, we first review companion plants that disrupt host-location by the target’s key pests, and then those that operate by attracting natural enemies of the protection target’s pests. For companions operating through either mechanism, we discuss case-studies where underlying mechanisms have been examined within replicated field trials, highlighting evidence for why each companion-planting scheme succeeded or failed.