Integrated Pest Management can be used to control a wide variety of pests that threaten plants in your garden. By using IPM techni...
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an environmentally sensitive approach to controlling pests that does not rely totally on pesticides. IPM depends on frequent monitoring of plants and the accurate diagnosis of the pests so that control strategies are used only when and where needed.
A variety of control methods which include cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical may be employed. IPM takes a look at the entire system and thus monitors the entire system, not singling out only one pest problem.
In some instances IPM may not go far enough, because a fundamental reason for pest problems is unhealthy plants. Plant health care is very important in preventing pest problems. Thus to implement IPM you must have an understanding of the vulnerabilities of plants.
Practicing IPM may require thinking a little differently. You need to question yourself. Do I need a weed-free lawn? Are their less pest-prone varieties? Can I accept some blemished produce? In other words, you need clear understanding of two basic principles, pest or host plant biology and your tolerance of the pest infestations.
Monitoring and correct pest identification is crucial to IPM. You need to know what common pests to look for so you can learn about their biology. Once you know a little about the potential pests, you will know when to look for each pest.
Monitoring may include visual observations or traps, such as pitfall traps, pheromone traps, colored traps, or sticky traps.
Once a pest appears in numbers causing damage above a level you can tolerate, you need to have a management plan in mind. Again this means homework to evaluate the costs (economic and environmental) and effectiveness of different control strategies.
Cultural control depends on knowledge of the plant's needs in a landscape or garden. Stressed plants are more susceptible to insects, fungi and viruses. First, select a plant that will grow well under the soil, water, and light conditions of the site. Select disease resistant varieties. Water and fertilise plants according to their individual species needs.
Add competitive ground covers to eliminate weeds in landscapes. Remove problem or diseased plants. Increase air circulation to minimise certain diseases.
Biological control uses living organisms to suppress pest populations below levels of serious or aesthetic damage. It may include using beneficial organisms already present in the environment or releasing beneficial insects into the area. Certain biologicals only control a small group of organisms, for example Bt (Bacillus thurengiensis) only controls caterpillars, several flies (mosquitoes), and some beetles, but no other insects.
Mechanical control may include physical removal by hand, water, or pruning. Trapping using baits, pheromones, color attractants. Using barriers such as screens, nets, row covers is very effective.
Mulching may reduce weeds in landscapes. Weed whacking with a hoe or shovel may be effective, but may need to be repeated.
Chemicals may be necessary to control a pest population. Consider using selective materials over broadspectrum pesticides. Timing is extremely important with insect, disease, and weed control. Make sure the product is effective against the target pest – just because the pesticide you bought works well on aphids doesn't mean it will be equally effective against cabbage worms.
You should also be aware that certain pests are only susceptible at specific times of the year, and some stages of insects and diseases are not affected by pesticides at all.
Use the pesticide rates stated on the label. Apply only to where the pests live: under or on top of leaves. In some instances, especially with fungicides, repeat applications may be necessary. The label will also tell you where you can use the product, for example, on lawns, ornamental plants, vegetable gardens or inside the house and the pest (insect, weed, fungus) it will control.
Most plants produce their own chemicals to fend off insects and disease, and if you familiarise yourself with them, you can use them to your advantage. Here are 20 plants that deter pests:
Article provided by Lavender Pest Control