By Kerrie B. Badertscher, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Horticulture
What does IPM stand for?
IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, is a decision process that includes detecting when you need controls, where you need them and what alternatives are available.
IPM was first developed for large-scale agricultural operations, but its basic tenets apply also to the homeowner. By using IPM, homeowners, as well as agricultural producers and others involved in the green industry, can minimize the use of chemicals to control pests, but rely upon them when the situation calls for it. Pests include insects, weeds, pathogens and even plant material that's not desired in a specific area.
Getting started with IPM may seem overwhelming, but the guidelines below will help:
In designing an IPM program, ask yourself some key questions:
Your level of toleration for such imperfections will determine whether to treat the problem or to leave it alone. Treatment does not always mean spraying. It also doesn't mean you must eradicate the pest; often reducing it is sufficient.
You might be able to trap pests by using sticky traps or you might decide to plant varieties that are resistant to specific pests. You might choose to place certain plants in different sites to preclude them from injury.
As you experiment with different ways to treat pest problems, you'll also want to evaluate your efforts. Did they work? What could you change to make your efforts more effective?
The term `integrated' is important because pest managers must look at the entire ecosystem, not just one segment of it. They also must consider a variety of social, economic, environmental and political ramifications to each decision.
Graphic: Judy Sedbrook, (with help from Angelina and Brooklyn)
© CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener 2010
888 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80210
Date last revised: 01/05/2010