Monthly Archives: February 2017
What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated pest management (IPM) is defined as an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of sound cultural practices and judicious pesticide use. For turf grass management, pest prevention is accomplished by focusing on optimal cultural practices to promote a healthy lawn which can tolerate a higher degree of pest pressure. The techniques used to control pests in an IPM program include seeding with improved pest resistant turf varieties; cultural techniques such as proper mowing, watering, fertilization, aeration; and the judicious use of pesticides when needed. An integrated pest management program does not exclude the use of pesticides, instead, the use of a variety of cultural controls help reduce the need for pesticide products.
What is a pest?
The word pest is often associated with turf damaging insects, however a pest refers to any organism that interferes with our desired plants. This could be an insect, but also includes weeds, rodents, fungus, bacteria and other living organisms.
How does an Integrated Pest Management program work?
Set Threshold levels
The first step is to set a threshold level, which is a customer determined point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate action should be taken. For example, two people may have very different threshold levels for the amount of dandelions they will tolerate in their lawn. Seeing a single pest does not always mean control is required. It is important to understand pest levels that can potential become a threat to your turf and cause damage. Setting proper threshold levels for pests that can harm your lawn should be carefully determined if you want to avoid damage.
A healthy lawn is the best defense! As a first line of pest control, Integrated Pest Management programs work to minimize pest populations before they become a threat to the lawn. This can be accomplished by seeding with pest-resistant varieties of grass types along with other appropriate cultural practices such as proper watering, mowing, fertilizing, applying lime and aerating to promote healthy turf. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient.
Not all insects and weeds require control. Many organisms are beneficial. Integrated Pest Management programs work to monitor for pests and identify them, so that appropriate control measures can be made in conjunction with threshold levels. The scouting process will determine if and when pesticides should be applied.
If threshold levels are surpassed, even with proper preventive methods, then pesticides could be required. IPM programs evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective pest controls are chosen, which includes traditional chemicals applied as a targeted spray (spot treatment) or blanket (whole lawn treatment).
What are the pros and cons of an Integrated Pest Management Program?
Let’s start with the pros.
- Your property will be carefully monitored by a professional lawn care provider.
- Less pesticides will be used on your property.
- IPM encourages healthy cultural practices that benefit your lawn and the environment.
- You’ll be provided with proper watering techniques and mowing practices.
- A soil analysis provides great information and helps design a plan specific to your lawn’s needs.
Now the cons.
- Your property will have some weeds, even with spot treatments.
- Your property will have some insects that can damage your turf.
- You may have disease and disease damage.
- Seeding may be required to repair insect and disease damage.
Integrated pest management utilizes multiple techniques to help prevent pests and promote healthy turf. Environmental factors are outside of our control and as they change from year to year, IPM techniques will need to adapt as well. A soil analysis is a great starting point so that corrective treatments for pH levels and nutrient imbalances can be made as soon as possible. In addition to regular fertilization, there are a number of other practices and applications that help promote lawn health:
- Core Aeration
- Seeding – pest resistant varieties
- Lime Applications
- Proper Mowing
- Correct Watering – both frequency and duration
If an integrated pest management program is something you are interested in trying, feel free to call us at 908-281-7888 if you are in our service area. We will work together to optimize cultural practices and set threshold levels that work for you! For more information, here is a link to our Integrated Pest Management website page.