Everything You Need to Know About Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Since pests and weeds destroy one's lawn, it's beneficial to practice proper lawn management. With the help of a lawn care plan, like Integrated Pest Management (IPM), you may be able to prevent these problems from affecting your lawn. In fact, IPM may be helpful without the use of potent chemicals.
Integrated Pest Management's Four Principles
- Action threshold asks how much damage one is willing to endure before he or she takes action.
- Scouting and monitoring on a regular basis can lead to a pest infestation discovery that's small enough to be easily managed.
- Practicing plant and lawn care prevention techniques can keep plants healthy, making them less likely to succumb to pest and disease problems.
- If the other three principles are ineffective, some sort of control may be required. Use a safer treatment option before taking a more aggressive approach. This may reduce the use of chemical products that are potentially harmful to other species.
- It's important to note that IPM is not a completely organic method of plant care because it allows the use of pesticides or herbicides as a last resort for pest or weed control. However, IPM programs do encourage people to work through a checklist of proper maintenance and monitoring before escalating to any type of control, whether it's organic or synthetic.
IPM and Lawn Care
Keep in mind that not every weed or insect is a cause for alarm. Determining how much damage you're willing to accumulate will help you decide whether control is necessary.
Practicing excellent lawn care is the first step towards pest and weed prevention. This can entail mowing the lawn at the highest setting for your grass type. To ensure that the lawn receives enough water, it's recommended that you water deeply and infrequently. You can also perform a soil test to determine whether or not the pH level is normal. This will help prevent you from overusing fertilizer, which promotes weed growth and makes plants more susceptible to diseases.
In addition to proper maintenance, it's important to regularly monitor the lawn for pests. This requires you to walk around the lawn during the early morning. Since pests are more active at night, doing this a few times a week will allow you to test newly damaged areas, allowing you to detect a pest problem early on.
If lawn maintenance and monitoring fail, control is the next step. To prevent the use of either harsh pesticides or herbicides, lawn care experts first recommend using chemical-free treatments. In lawn care, this means digging or hand-pulling weeds. It also means trying cultural controls, like watering the lawn to eliminate drought stress, before using insecticides. Using an organic herbicide, like vinegar, can also eliminate pest and weed problems. If a natural approach doesn't produce results, you may need to use chemicals. Although IPM doesn't prohibit chemical use, it suggests using a safer alternative instead.