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Creating Healthy 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.

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.

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?

The best way to make an effective pesticide application is to observe pest development at the site through regular monitoring, but making these observations for each pest can be time consuming and difficult.