Creating Healthy Landscapes

Series of fact sheets about understanding and implementing IPM in landscapes.

When a plant looks unhealthy or has been injured by an insect or a mite, often our first impulse is to apply a pesticide. But that solution might be a waste of time and money. Applying the wrong pesticide could destroy the pest’s natural enemies, which sometimes take care of the problem without any intervention.

To create and maintain a healthy landscape, choose plants that are suited to the conditions in your yard. Plants placed in a location that meets their requirements usually thrive without requiring a lot of attention. Plants in a location that does not suit them will be stressed, vulnerable to attack from pests and diseases, and may require more care.

One of the most important steps you can take to ensure the health and long life of your plants is to plant them correctly. The best time to plant is either early spring or early fall when days are relatively short, air temperatures are cool, and soil remains moist. Poor plant growth and death of plants most often are caused by failure to follow the recommended planting procedures listed.

Healthy, vigorous plants are less vulnerable to attack by insects and disease. Become familiar with the steps below and you will have a prescription for maintaining the health of all the plants in your landscape.

Debris that builds up in the landscape can harbor pests and plant diseases. This publication covers seven techniques that can help you keep plants well groomed. This two-page fact sheet is part of a series of fact sheets about understanding and using integrated pest management in landscapes.

Inspecting your plants on a regular basis is essential to identifying and evaluating plant problems in their early stages. You then can determine what, if any, action should be taken to manage these problems.

People who practice IPM (integrated pest management) understand that eradicating insect pests and diseases of plants is usually unrealistic. IPM primarily consists of methods used to prevent plant problems from occurring in the first place.

When you see insects on plants in your landscape, is your first impulse to try to spray them? This is a normal reaction since large populations of harmful insects can build up and have devastating effects on host plants. But before you attempt to control a “pest,” take time to identify the “suspects” properly. Are you really sure they are harmful?

Successful pest management in the landscape depends on using control tactics only when necessary and only when an insect pest, weed, or pathogen is most vulnerable.


Homeowners across America are changing the face of the typical American lawn. This publication provides strategies for the natural landscape homeowner who is looking for neighborly ways to garden for nature.

Both the general habitat type and the specific features of the habitat help to determine the wildlife species found in an area. This fact sheet describes some of the most important wildlife-habitat relationships to help you determine which species may be present on your property and how to improve the habitat for certain types of species.

Everyone loves to see wildlife, and what better place to observe wild birds and mammals than in your own backyard? This fact sheet provides an annotated list of books about landscaping with the needs of wildlife in mind. It also includes lists of bird-feeding guides, guides to building houses for birds and mammals, and organizations and agencies that can provide additional information.

This fact sheet presents guidelines for selecting woody plants such as trees, shrubs, and vines and designing your landscape with the goal of providing wildlife habitat.

This fact sheet gives you information on how to improve habitat quality for cottontail rabbits by providing them with the necessary food and cover.