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What’s Integrated Pest Management?

At Thrive, one service we offer is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. A common question we receive from our clients is: What is IPM?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture – Pesticide Regulation, describes IPM as “the selection, integration, and implementation of pest control (biological, chemical or cultural) based on predicted economic, ecological, and sociological consequences.” This definition may read densely, but IPM is simply an integrated approach to handling pest and disease outbreaks on plants, shrubs and trees. IPM is not just a pesticide application program or a fertilization program, although both pesticides and fertilizers are key components.

The true beginning of IPM starts with exercising proper cultural practices, which can mean choosing the right plant for the right location before it ever goes in the ground. This is important in the prevention of pest and disease outbreaks because a naturally thriving plant will be naturally resistant to pest and disease issues. Utilizing proper mulching, pruning and horticulture practices to maintain plants while avoiding other cultural problems such as poor drainage, incorrect lighting or competition can have a huge impact on your plants.  (But don’t worry; If you have any of these issues, they can be identified and corrected by our Thrive Team.)

“Integrating” these practices with chemical applications is why it’s called Integrated Pest Management. When chemicals are finally used to address a pest or disease issue, it is done by choosing the most safe and effective products. Specialists selectively spray plants only displaying active pest or disease, and homeowners have the choice to solely use organic products, making them very attractive in residential areas. As each IPM program is individually tailored, you can expect a detailed account for your landscape only.

The approach of using IPM to control pest and disease outbreaks in landscaping is still relatively new. Many clients are aware of ‘spray programs’ where whole landscapes are treated with a broad-spectrum pesticide at predetermined intervals, but IPM trades gallons of pesticides used with time spent monitoring properties. Monitoring at proper intervals gives IPM programs their effectiveness and are safer than traditional spray programs.

Considering implementing an Integrated Pest Management Program for your plants? Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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