The Online Gardener's Handbook 2010
Chapter 2: Integrated Pest Management


It is normal for garden plants to suffer some damage from pests. Healthy plants can withstand pest attack better than those growing under difficult conditions. A few blemishes on fruit or spots on leaves are not usually worth the cost and time spent in control efforts. Maintaining a healthy lawn or garden is the homeowner's best defence against unwanted pests. Gardeners are encouraged to use natural practices such as mechanical, cultural and biological methods whenever possible. Information on non-pesticide controls are provided throughout this handbook. If natural methods fail and you want to investigate allowable pesticide options, use only those reduced risk pesticides or biopesticides permitted for cosmetic use under the cosmetic pesticides ban, or contact a professional pest management company, consult staff at garden centres, or your local Master Gardener's group.

Identification of the target pest and determining its life cycle and biology is critical to choosing appropriate and effective control methods. This includes the damaging stages of the pest, when the pest is present and when it is most vulnerable in its life cycle. To be effective, controls must be implemented at the proper developmental stage of the pest.

Integrated Pest Management

An integrated pest management strategy is one that combines all available tools to reduce pest populations to an acceptable level in the most economic and environmentally friendly fashion. These tools include cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical pest control measures, as well as regularly monitoring for pests. It is important to note that most of these tools do not involve pesticides. There are numerous non-pesticide options that can be used to help prevent or reduce the impacts of pests in the lawn or garden, including cultural and natural controls. While many of these measures on their own might not provide sufficient control, in combination they may reduce the problem to below threshold levels. It is the most effective and environmentally friendly way to minimize problems in your garden.

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Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 04 July 2005
Last Reviewed: 18 August 2010