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Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Do you have a shelf full of outdated or partially used garden chemicals in your home? Most gardeners do and because some of the products can be hazardous to people, pets and the environment, risk as well as nuisance accompany their storage.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to spray, dust, spread or broadcast pesticides to manage most garden insects and diseases. Integrated pest management (IPM) is a research-based approach that can reduce insect and disease damage to acceptable levels in most gardens with minimum or no pesticide use.
IPM relies on these management practices:
A. Establishing Acceptable Pest Levels: IPM assumes that it is not necessary and often is not possible to eradicate all pests and diseases and understands that most plants can tolerate a degree of damage, even occasional defoliation, without significant impact on the health or aesthetics of the plant. Gardeners decide how much damage is acceptable and intervene only when damage exceeds their acceptable levels.
B. Using Preventive Cultural Practices: This means selecting insect and disease resistant plant varieties and maintaining growing conditions that promote plant health. Preventive practices include choosing the right plant for the growing conditions, planting disease free stock, removing and destroying diseased plants, maintaining soil fertility, watering when needed, and ensuring good air circulation.
C. Monitoring the Presence of Pests and Disease: Observation is a cornerstone of IPM. Those who practice it learn to identify pests and disease and understand their life cycles and behavior as well as the conditions that favor them. Early detection permits use of management strategies that may not be effective later when pests are abundant and disease advanced.
D. Employing Mechanical Remedies: When pests or diseases reach unacceptable levels mechanical remedies are used first. These include hand picking, barriers, traps and pruning affected leaves or branches. Cracks and other openings are sealed to exclude pests that enter houses and other buildings.
E. Managing Pests and Disease Biologically: Unacceptable damage is eliminated or reduced by introducing or maintaining conditions favorable to predators and parasites that target pests. Introducing naturally occurring bacteria, fungi and nematodes that suppress pest and disease organisms also curbs damage.
F. Selecting Low Impact Pesticides: When pesticides are needed, IPM employs those that pose little risk to beneficial and non-target organisms. Examples include horticultural oil, insecticidal soap and naturally occurring bacteria such as BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Spinosad (Saccharopolyspora spinosa). When using pesticides apply the correct amount, in the right way, at the most effective time.
An IPM approach can reduce the need for hazardous pesticides and eliminate unsightly and risky accumulations of outdated and partially used garden chemicals.
Bob Bystrom, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener
These websites provide more information about Integrated Pest Management:
Yard & Garden Line News - How Can We Manage Plant Diseases Without Chemicals?
Posted by bart on May 18, 2008 10:00 AM in Information on Popular Topics