By: Amy Fulcher, University of Tennessee Dept. of Plant Sciences
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can be defined as a sustainable approach to managing pests that combines biological, cultural and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks (Adkins and Sidebottom 2000). The goal of IPM in the nursery is not to eradicate every pest, but rather to manage serious pests to a level that reduces damage and also reduces the cost of pest control. Every insect, disease and weed pest is not a threat to plant health, plant sale or achieving a premium price. Weighing the cost of the damage and the cost of control measures for each pest, as well as the effectiveness of the control option and the time of application, is a component of IPM (EPA).
The main components of a nursery IPM program include prevention, mapping, scouting, record keeping, pest identification, action/economic thresholds, selecting the appropriate control and evaluating the control measure. Once control is deemed necessary, cultural, biological and mechanical techniques as well conventional pesticides are options. The least toxic pesticides are considered before resorting to more toxic alternatives.
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