Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a method of pest control that substantially reduces the amount and toxicity of chemical pesticide applications. The primary focus of integrated pest management is to create ideal growing conditions that allow plants to thrive. Strong, healthy plants are better able to fight off insects, mites and diseases. There are however, several devastating pests that have moved into our area over the past decade. Among them are emerald ash borer and sudden oak death.

There are two basic catagories of pests. Chewing pests and sucking pests. A Japanese beetle would be an example of a chewing pest as it will chew on leaves. Sawflies can completely defoliate mugo pine if allowed.

Insects like aphids and lace bugs suck sap out of leaves. The damage from these sucking pests can destroy the chlorophyll in leaves turning them yellow. Mites are also sucking pests.

Regular monitoring of the landscape is an essential part of any IPM program. Early detection can help reduce the spread of plant damaging organisms. Many problems can easily be taken care of by a knowledgable horticulturist. Identification and preservation of beneficial organisms is key to reduced pesticide use. Predatory mites, lady beetles and lace wings can help to keep pest populations at acceptable levels.

Disease management starts with selecting disease resistant material. There are many varities of trees, shrubs and turfgrass that are resistant to disease.

Proper pruning is also key. Proper pruning can increase air flow through the plant, drying it out faster. Constant moisture on leaves makes them more suceptable to disease.

Rake and remove fallen leaves that are diseased. This will help reduce disease the following year.

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