Besides being wonderful, IPM–Integrated Pest Management–is a sustainable, environmental approach to managing insect pests and pathogens in our gardens and other urban and suburban landscapes. The acronym need not be mysterious or intimidating, on the contrary, IPM will become your “Go To” once you get to know it!
IPM Control Tactics start to finish…
Monitor Key Pests and Key Plants : Learn what to look for in your own garden and decide which areas, plants and trees are most important to you. (If, for example, Azaleas and Rhododendrons are important to you, get help from the UMD extension office website to learn about common pest and pathogens.) Get assistance in diagnosing and strategizing, as needed. Pruning by Design can help you with this!
Cultural and Sanitation Practices : Add biodiversity and native plants to your yard, include disease resistant plants, maintain plant health, the right amount of mulch; reduce habitat and soil stressers. Make sure irrigation is not too much or too little. PbD can help you with this!
Mechanical and Physical Controls : PbD can help you with this! PRUNE! Prune out infestations and hand pick to remove problem insect pests, use high pressure water spray to blast them off. Prune to encourage airflow and remove disease vectors.
Biological Controls : Implement these after working with other good plant health care practices, encourage or establish predatory insects such as lacewings and lady beetles to pray on pests like aphids, attract and support birds in your own garden, add beneficial nematodes in your soil, strive for a natural balance of predator and pray insects in your yard so that pest outbreaks are less likely. PbD can help you with this!
Chemical Controls : Last Resort, use organic and inorganic pesticides only on a prescription basis, applied by professionals. There is real and present danger for pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as humans, when they are used in our neighborhoods. Check out your pesticides with the OMRI, Organic Materials Review Institute. PbD does not use chemical controls.
Don’t use fertilizers. Nitrogen, common in nearly every fertilizer, can actually promote secondary pest outbreaks that are worse than the first infestation, sigh!