If you seem to be overrun by a plague of insect pests on your trees or shrubbery, you might want to consider Integrated Pest Management. In the long term, this strategy aims to rid your property of insects that can seriously harm – or even kill – your plants.
The Lakeland College Pesticide Applicator Course, 2016 edition states that IPM is systematic decision-making process that aims to prevent pests from becoming problems, and to determine what actions to take if pest problems occur.
There are 6 key elements to IPM.
Choose landscape plants that are less insect and disease prone that others. Create growing conditions that aid with healthy growth. For example-add organic matter through soil and/or nutrients to the ground.
If you observe an insect problem, try to find out which pest is causing the damage through research or speaking with a professional. It is important to find the correct source of the damage. If an insect is improperly identified, control measures may not work.
This includes checking for damage and presence of the insect. Monitoring is key to find the life stage of the pest. For example-some control measures will work better while the pest is in its larvae stage, while others will work best when the insect is abundantly active at the leaf’s surface. Beneficial insects may also be present and enough of them may be active to keep the pest population in check.
In IPM, threshold levels are placed into 2 categories. The injury threshold is when the pest is causing unacceptable damage and is detrimental to the plant. The action threshold is when treatment should begin to prevent injury from occurring.
There are 5 different aspects of treatment in IPM.
We will just touch on 2 of these.
In the event of an aphid infestation, pruning would be considered a way to reduce pest population. Thinning a canopy of water sprouts, deadwood and crossing/rubbing branches would increase airflow circulation throughout the tree. This would become a less favourable environment for the pest.
In a bad infestation of Yellow Headed Sawfly, chemical control may be used when other control measures will not work. As Sawfly is an extremely damaging insect (especially to young plantings), and highly damaging when it large numbers, it is best to control them at first sight. Control measures that do not include chemicals would include picking off the insect and destroying them, or spraying them off the tree with high pressure water. When this does not work, insecticidal soap or Trounce should control their population.
As always, discuss your options with a professional!