Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Have you heard about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) but are not sure what it is?

IPM is a way to manage pest problems in your garden in an environmentally aware way. In essence, it's a practice that reduces or eliminates the use of synthetic chemicals and allows you to garden with fewer toxins that affect the environment, your property, beneficial insects and people.

IPM became a common gardening philosophy in the 1970s and it continues to grow in popularity. The goal is to restore balance and let a garden or crop thrive naturally by implementing some basic principles.

  • You don't need to eradicate pests, only control them.
  • Select crops that grow well in your zone, and remove diseased plants.
  • Observe and document pest activity. It's a great way to target and create effective IPM.
  • Use mechanical controls such as traps, barriers and fences; cultural controls like pest-resistant plants, hand-picking and regular irrigation; and biological controls like beneficial insects and birds.
  • Use chemical pesticides responsibly as your last resort.

 

Implementing IPM in Your Garden

1. The first step you'll need to take to use IPM in your garden is to monitor and thoroughly assess your situation. In many cases, plant damage can be the result of improper care rather than disease or pests. Are you watering correctly? Using the right fertilization methods?

2. Identify any pests you have and be sure the identity is accurate. Choose disease- and pest-resistant crops or plants that grow well in your local area. Try growing seeds in an indoor space that doesn't have pests. Rotate your crops, prune and don't overwater.

3. The last part of IPM is control. You'll want to use the least risky controls first. Try the mechanical, cultural and biological methods or specifically targeted methods.