Integrated pest management or IPM for short is an environmentally sensitive approach to managing pest and disease in the garden. It is the perfected choice when pest control is needed. Rather than going out and spraying every time pest or disease is found IPM focuses on different control methods based on more ecologically friendly approach.
Using integrated pest management requires some understanding of biological factors like pest and disease as well as non biological factors like weather, soil condition, nutrients,and light. The idea is that by managing the growing conditions you can eliminate some of the biological problems. One of the big premises of IPM is that you need to be willing to accept a certain amount of loss and small infestations instead of trying to control all manner
of life in your garden.
There are four main parts to a successful integrated pest management program it is not a single action but a group of actions that determine the need for control. They may be described as follows.
Set An Action Threshold
When a single pest is discovered it is not time to panic and take action. A point is established at what constitutes the right time to take actions. What will start to cause economic harm to the crop. Also to be taken into consideration is the condition caused by weather conditions or some other outside influence before any action will be considered.
Monitor And Identify Pests
Before any action can be taken you need to properly identify the pest that is creating the problem. This is accomplished by scouting which is to go and look at the plants and then properly identify the pests. Not all weeds, insects, or organisms are harmful. Be sure that the problem is properly identified so that wrong insecticide is not used. Also this may even determine whether a pesticide is even needed.
The first line of defense should always be prevention. By planting disease resident varieties, ensuring proper cultivation, monitoring water and nutrients this will help to prevent problems from arising.
The final step is control once you have reach the the point where monitoring and prevention no longer work you have reached the action threshold. It is time to evaluate and see what the most effective method posing the least amount of risk is. Generally this could be manual removal or biological like the use of pheromones to disrupt pest mating. If further monitoring ,identification and action thresholds indicate the less risky controls are not working then additional pest controls would be used.
While all pesticide use is not eliminated by practicing IPM it is certainly reduced considerably. By having a better understanding of your plants needs and how growing conditions can effect it you are helping reduce the amounts of unneeded pesticide in the environment.