Integrated Pest Management
IPM: Integrated Pest Management, a systematic 4 step methodology that includes sustainable less toxic means of ridding one or more pests to crops. It’s a foundation that has been taught for years and is one of the first things to be learned once you take the leap to becoming an educated gardener/landscaper/turf manager. The principles are this: 1) Identify pests and monitor progress 2)Set action thresholds 3)Prevent and 4) Control.
How to Use IPM
Simple, right? Yes, but sometimes we don’t have time to set out yellow sticky cards or to monitor progress. One day out in your garden, you see that your precious ‘Stargazer’ Lily’s are being eaten by bright red Lily beetles! What are you going to do? How do you prevent them?
Identifying Pests is the key to solving the problem. All insects are host specific and all it takes is a Google search of Hydrangea pests to figure out what it could be. Knowledge of the plant material but its environmental needs as well.
Set action thresholds is the maintenance routine of preventive care. How are you going to combat these pests? What course of action must you take? Oftentimes, the simplest solution is sanitation: removing leaf litter and plucking off the pests or cutting off a section of the plant with the pest. It may require a professional to control the outbreak.
Prevention: is the mode of action taken to rid or control the pest outbreak.
Control: Now that you know what the pest is, how to prevent it, it is time to control it by setting up the routine and knowing how to prevent the outbreak from happening again.
Research, Research, Research
Research is key. Great sources for identifying and problem solving your pest issues is UMass Extension website https://ag.umass.edu/. Their Landscape Message website helps identify weather, pests, and plant pathological problems in your area at the time. Working with local Landscape Professionals can help to identify, problem solve, and create the action thresholds.
UMass Extension https://ag.umass.edu/
Ellis, Barbara W. , Martin, Deborah L. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control, 2009 Rodale
Johnson, Warren T., Lyon, Howard H. Insects that Feed on Trees and Shrubs, Cornell University