What is Integrated Pest Management?
According to the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) “Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.
Integrated Pest Management programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.”
Implementation of IPM
The goal of Integrated Pest Management is to eliminate pest problems by strengthening and stabilizing the landscape and creating the proper balance of conditions that are more favorable for plants than for pests. At VMC Landscape, we often recommend this program to many of our commercial properties, especially those who are concerned with an eco-friendly approach to pest management.
Integrated Pest Management is a 4-step process.
1. Set Action Thresholds
Many are not harmful, in fact, some are even beneficial. For instance, lady bugs eat aphids and certain wasp species that feed on web worms. These are just a few of the insects you should welcome.
2. Regular Monitoring
A trained landscape professional should regularly monitor your property for signs of harmful pest infestation. While insects are a common problem, they are not the only problem that should be monitored. You should also watch for early signs of disease and weeds in turf areas and floral beds.
Implementing proper maintenance and lawn care prevention techniques will go a long way in preventing many of the pests common to North Texas.
Mowing turf areas at the highest setting for your grass type promotes deeper roots, preventing water loss. Taller grass also cools the soil and reduces heat stress.
It is recommended that you water turf areas deeply, twice a week. This will ensure that the grass receives enough water to stay healthy. Frequent watering encourages shallow and weak root systems.
Performing a soil test to determine its pH levels will help prevent you from overusing fertilizer. Improper use of fertilizer promotes weed growth and makes plants more susceptible to disease.
Various methods are used to control pest problems. Cultural control methods, such as mulching beds and other areas, help to control weeds. Mechanical control employs the use of devices, such as traps for rodents and insects.
Integrated Pest Management emphasizes non-chemical and biological methods of pest control. However, when chemical control is justified, it is important to choose the least toxic methods.
How Does IPM Benefit Your Property?
On large, commercial properties, hand-pulling weeds is neither practical nor cost efficient. By monitoring, preventing and controlling damaging pests you can reduce your use of chemicals that can harm the environment and save money. Integrated Pest Management can give you greater knowledge of pest activity on your property and ways to control the problem.