Pest Management (IPM) is a new name for an old practice
--that of considering all available methods of pest
control rather than turning to pesticides alone.
According to the American Nursery & Landscape
Association (ANLA), everyone can practice IPM, benefiting
the environment, the lawn and the garden.
IPM is new in that nurserymen, farmers and other
professionals have only begun to use it on a concerted
basis in the past ten years or so. It has a long
history, however, in that it combines traditional
methods of pest control under one cohesive plan.
IPM consists of using a variety of measures to manage
insects and weeds in your yard and garden and cut down
on their presence and impact. You can implement an IPM
pro-gram by building your garden around pest resistant
plants and shrubs, properly maintaining your plants,
keeping an eye out for pests before they arrive, and
taking rapid steps to eliminate them once they are
If you'd like to use IPM to curb problems with
insects and disease in your lawn or flower beds, says
ANLA, follow these principles:
- avoid cultural practices which encourage
pests, such as over-watering or poor pruning
- select plants which will thrive in your
yard/garden's conditions (sun or shade, wet/dry, etc.)
- use plants which resist pests
- keep an eye out for insect and disease
- introduce a pest's natural predators
- properly prune your plants and pick off any
insects you find
- use an appropriate pesticide when necessary.
Certain cultural practices, such as over-watering or
over-fertilizing, can increase the number of pests in
your lawn or garden. The first step in IPM is to change
any of your gardening habits which may actually be
encouraging pests to gather and/or reproduce in your
lawn or garden.
Just as you can select plants, flowers, trees and
shrubs based upon how much water they require or how
much maintenance they demand, you can also choose
vegetation for its ability to withstand insects.
Some trees and plants are more hardy and are not
attractive to pests. Or, they may be better able to
withstand the damage caused by in-sects. If you would
like to know which of these plants would prosper in your
climatic zone, you can ask the professionals at your
local garden center.
Watching for Insects
One of the most important parts of IPM is carefully
examining your plants for infestation. This practice has
been used successfully by farmers for years. Since you
will be working to identify insects and diseases when
they first appear, you will have a head start on knowing
which ones are harmful and which ones should be
controlled. Your garden center or extension service
professionals can help you identify in-sects, diseases
and cultural problems.
Pruning and Insect Removal
Despite taking all of these precautions, it is likely
that at some point you will encounter pests in your
yard/garden. Following the principles of IPM, however,
you should not necessarily spray at the first sign of
insects. In some instances, you may pick the insects off
of the plants, especially if there are only a few
insects or they are restricted to one or two plants. If
you are able to destroy all of the harmful insects that
you see, you may be able to prevent them from
multiplying and infesting the rest of your yard or
garden. Another way to avoid spraying at the first sign
of some insect and disease problems is to prune out the
affected parts of the individual plant or tree rather
than using pesticides on the entire site. Pests removed
by hand-picking or pruning should be disposed of away
from the garden.
If pests are widespread in your site, you may be able
to eliminate many of them by encouraging natural
predators. Natural predators are other in-sects who will
feed on the pests you are seeking to eliminate. Insects
like ladybugs and praying mantis can devour hundreds of
unwanted aphids or other pests. Learn to identify
beneficial insects. If you have them, avoid spraying
pesticides which may kill them. You may be able to
purchase and introduce more predators into your garden.
The experts at your local garden center can advise you
on which predators to use in your garden or yard.
Introducing natural predators is especially effective
in an enclosed area, such as a greenhouse.
IPM involves the judicious use of pesticides to
eliminate those harmful pests which can't be destroyed
any other way. There are a number of pesticides on the
market which, used closely following label directions,
provide a safe way to prevent insects from destroying
your garden or yard. Thanks to IPM, you can successfully
control the insect population in your area and have a
more beautiful and healthy landscape.