In general there are six elements to a good landscape IPM program:
Prevention: Focusing on plant health is the best way to prevent pests and diseases from occuring. Good fertilizing, aerating and mowing practices create strong grass that out-competes weeds. Proper pruning and fertilizing makes for healthy shrubs and trees that are less susceptible to pest damage.
Identification: Correctly identifying pests is critical, as most new treatment methods are tailored to a particular pest species. Proper identification takes time, and may require you to closely examine the plants and insects in your yard, check guides or manuals, and consult with a horticultural expert.
Monitoring: Pest levels must be monitored so that correct treatment decisions can be made. Monitoring may involve visits where a plant health technician examines your yard and records information about pest levels, amount of plant damage and levels of beneficial insects.
Action Levels:For each pest problem, your plant health professional should discuss your expectations with you. He or she can then use this information, along with established thresholds, to decide if and when a treatment is necessary.
Treatment: For any given pest, a variety of treatment methods may be available, and several may be used together for better results. Examples include:
Physical Controls: using mulches, spraying aphids with water and pulling weeds.
Cultural Controls: planting resistant varieties in the proper location.
Chemical Controls: using synthetic and naturally-derived pesticides when necessary. These include conventional pesticides, as well as reduced-risk options like insect pheromones, insecticidal soaps and vinegar for weed control.
Evaluation: IPM programs must be continually evaluated to find ways to improve plant health and reduce pesticide use.