IPM: Using Integrated Pest Management in Organic Gardening - dummies

IPM: Using Integrated Pest Management in Organic Gardening

By Ann Whitman, Suzanne DeJohn, The National Gardening Association

Part of Organic Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet

IPM (integrated pest management) is a practice that combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical strategies to control pests. Organic gardeners use IPM techniques as the least toxic, least environmentally disruptive solutions for fighting pests and plant disease.

IPM involves the following key practices:

  • Using cultural techniques to promote plant health: Rotating crops, sanitizing gardens, using traps and barriers, mulching, promoting air circulation and water drainage, conserving soil moisture, planting companion and disease-resistant varieties, composting, and building soil health.

  • Identifying and monitoring pests: Identifying the pests and diseases that affect your crops, predicting when they will appear, and using observation and traps to determine the extent of the problem.

  • Using control methods: First using the least-toxic methods (beneficial insects and microbes, and insecticidal soaps and oils) and then resorting to more-toxic organic pesticides only when the value of the crop or landscape plant justifies their use.