The Importance of Having an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan


Having and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is extremely important in maintaining a thick healthy lawn and thriving landscape. Integrated Pest Management by definition is a pest management strategy that utilizes a wide range of pest control methods or tactics. The goal of this strategy is to prevent pests from reaching economically or aesthetically damaging levels with the least risk to the environment. There are five main components of IPM that are important to consider.

The first to to identify the pest and understand its biology. This is important because you have have know what you are facing in order to control it. By understanding the biology of the pest, you can treat it when the pest is most susceptible to pesticides. For many weeds this is when they are young and obtaining most of its nutrients. For insects, this is usually when they are in the egg or larva life stage. Treating these pests at the proper time can make a big difference between eradicating and suppressing the pest.

The second component of IPM is monitoring the pest being managed. This includes taking notes on the life stage it is currently in and monitoring populations. Many times there are numerous pests in a site with out even knowing it. This means the pest’s population is under the threshold of needing treatment. Just because there are some pests in a site does not mean the site needs to be treated. Many times a few pests promote a healthy ecosystem on a site. Earth worms can be considered pests. Although, a low number of earth worms can be good because it can help aerate the soil. Once the pest has passed the economic threshold it is important to treat it before the pest overtakes the site. The time to treat the site is after the pest has reached the economic threshold and before it reaches economic injury. At the economic injury level the pest begins to do damage to the site, lowing its value and aesthetics.

The third component of IPM is developing the pest management goal.  This is important because in order to complete a task there must be a goal or end game.  Generally the goal is to keep the pest at an economically acceptable level.  In some cases this means completely eradicating the pest such as dandelions in a lawn.  When there are unsightly weeds in a lawn it lowers the value.  In many properties this is the goal.  In other cases the goal is simply to supplement the soil with nutrients to promote thriving growth.  Having a goal to work towards can make a big difference on a successful or unsuccessful pest management plan.

The fourth component of IPM is implementing the integrated pest management program.  After all the monitoring and planning it is important to follow the plan you have put forth.  This may sound simple, and it can be, it just depends on how well you have completed the first three components.  If you have a straight forward plan then it can be very simple.  Having a very complex plan can work as long as you have done the homework.

The fifth, and final, component is recording and evaluating the results of the plan.  Many times this step is overlooked, but it is one of the most important.  Evaluating the success of the plan can prevent mistakes or improper treatments.  Additionally, recording and evaluating can save time and money.  If applications did not work as they were intended to, then it is important to evaluate that application.  Was is applied at an improper rate?  Is there a better time to apply the product?  Can this application be replaced with a more effective product?  All these are question that should be asked about each application.

Following these steps while maintaining a lawn or landscape can dramatically increase the success rate of controlling pests.  You can also contact SK Lawn Care for all your lawn care maintenance and landscape maintenance needs at

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