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Product Selection for Pest Control

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Last week we discussed how to go about properly identifying a pest in your landscape or garden. Once you've identified that pest problem in the garden, the next step is to create your management plan and choose a potential product to control that pest, if necessary.

What you may actually find though, is that your pest problem may not need any control at all. For example, let's say that your local Extension office helps you determine that your maple leaves are infected with Maple Tar Spot, a fungal disease. This disease is not believed to significantly impact tree growth and development, so there is no real need to spray this tree with a fungicide. Rake up the infected leaves at the end of the season to reduce the incidence next season.

In some cases though, the identified pest, may pose a significant risk to the plant and warrant control. In that instance, we must now decide what your management plan will be. Integrated Pest Management is the strategy that we employ to help us determine that plan. The goal here is to implement many different strategies to control and prevent a pest problem.

IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. This means that we're taking multiple strategies before resulting in spraying a pesticide.

We have some great resources here at University of Illinois Extension to help you decide what your plan of action should be. Our campus experts are continually updating the most effective pest control methods for home gardeners in a resource called Pest Management in the Home Landscape. This book is our resource to help you implement these strategies. It gives you all the information you need to manage insects, weeds, and plant diseases in your yard, garden, and home.

The goal is to help you choose the right pesticides and use them safely and effectively. And if you prefer organic pest control, many of the strategies we can recommend include nonchemical alternatives.

This reference is available online to purchase for yourself or call your local Extension office and their staff and volunteers will help you find the right solution. An online search can also be helpful in helping you determine the right product to use, but be sure to check who the information is coming from and when it was posted. Recommendations can change frequently, and not all resource information may necessarily be up to date. A future post will focus on the importance of reading the label on your pesticide product as well, which is a very important part of making sure you have the right product selected.

Learn more about Pesticide Product Selection in our Youtube Series.



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