Integrated Pest Management
|IPM can help you determine if, when, and how you should treat for pests like grubs.|
What is it and what does it mean for your garden?
By Jenny Peterson
You may have read or heard about something called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and wondered what it's all about. While it sounds a bit intellectual and complex, it's really quite simple—and easy to confuse with other types of pest management and gardening. Here's a rundown of what it is, and what it means for you and your garden.
IPM is an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that incorporates a variety of commonsense methods. Simply put, if you have bugs in your garden that are causing problems, IPM can help you decide the best course of action to take, using the most economical methods and having the least possible negative impact on people and the environment.
While it can, and does, include organic methods of gardening and pest management, IPM also offers guidelines on how to carefully and responsibly use pesticides. IPM is less of a single control method and more of a series of evaluations and decisions involving a four-tiered approach:
Set your action threshold.
Determine at what point the presence of pests will make you take action. Observing one grub in the lawn is not cause for concern, but twelve of them in a 1-foot area require some attention.
Monitor and identify pests.
Not all bugs are bad bugs; in fact, some are harmless or even beneficial. Before using any kind of control, determine what kind of bug you have and if the number you are seeing is above your action threshold.
Preventing bad bugs goes a long way toward avoiding garden damage. Planting resistant plant varieties, rotating crops, and taking care of plants properly can prevent many pests from taking over and causing real damage.
Once you have determined that your action threshold has been reached through the presence of bad bugs, and preventive action is no longer possible or effective, it's time to consider pest control. IPM calls for the use of the least risky controls first, then a progression toward targeted use of pesticides, with broadcast pesticide application being the last resort.
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