What is Landscape IPM?
IPM, or integrated pest management, is a strategy or program widely used in the pest control and landscape industries.
Landscape IPM prevents and eliminates pest issues related to plant material, using environmentally and economically sustainable methods. So what does this really mean?
Chemical treatments as a sole practice in pest control is a thing of the past for a few reasons. Chemical pesticides work to ELIMINATE pests whereas IPM strengthens landscape conditions to PREVENT pests. IPM is proactive approach that focuses on using a combination of practices, to enhance the overall landscape in an environmentally-friendly way.
Here’s what you can expect as part of an effective landscape IPM program:
Inspection & Monitoring
Routine property inspections are the first step in any successful IPM program. Landscape professionals will identify plant material that could be susceptible to future pest infestations and monitor any insect or arthropod activity that could be damage-causing. This is also an opportunity to observe the overall health of the property’s landscape, to analyze current plant growth and weather conditions, and predict how these factors could affect future pest activity.
Sampling is a term used to describe the method of detecting turf and ornamental plant pests, that’s also used in the IPM process. For example, landscapers can “sample” for white grubs or other beetle larvae in turf grass by digging at least 6 inches deep in 1 square foot sections of soil to identify an average number of grubs. Depending on the results, action can be taken to reduce or prevent future grub populations and turf damage.
The next step in IPM is one of the most critical: Identification. Treatment methods will vary depending on the pest and its life cycle and behavior; some chemical treatments are only effective for specific insects. Generalizing pests and using a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment is most often unsuccessful.
Identifying causes of plant damage is also key in an IPM program. The type of damage is a good indicator of the specific pest issue and will give landscapers direction in terms of the most effective treatment methods. For example, some insects – like caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles – are chewing pests. Aphids, whiteflies, and chinch bugs, on the other hand, are sucking pests. Both can be detrimental to plants and turf but required a different approach for prevention and control.
Analysis & Treatment
The analysis phase of IPM uses data collected in the Inspection and Identification phases to determine if a treatment plan is needed, or if changes to the landscape (such as removing or replacing plant material more vulnerable to pest damage) would be beneficial.
Most IPM programs utilize non-chemical methods of pest elimination and then resort to the use of pesticides only when and where needed, with a highly-targeted approach.
IPM is an ongoing process of inspection, identification, analysis, treatment, and monitoring. All phases of IPM work together to maximize the effectiveness of pest management, lower environmental impacts, proactively address issues, and ensure your property’s landscape is at its healthiest.
For more information on landscape IPM or to address specific pest concerns on any properties you manage, contact us now or reach out to your Account Manager directly.