A crucial element to lawn care is practicing Integrated Pest Management or IPM. Unfortunately the term "integrated pest management" is so dry and tedious, I fear many people may not go further than the title. What hurts more, is the fact that IPM is the practical, natural, money saving, common sense way to care for your lawn.
There are four steps of IPM.
1. How much is too much?
2. Monitor and identify.
Keep an eye out for potential problems. Find out what the pest is and why it's present? Be mindful of the weather, watering habits and other factors that can bring on pest infestations.
Providing conditions suited for growing lawn grass is the best pest control of all. Proper soil fertility and pH, adequate moisture, appropriate grass species, and good cultural practices will deter most lawn problems.
If all else fails, the pest must be dealt with, in one, or a combination, of three ways.
- Mechanical control - Pulling weeds by hand, trapping insects or using barriers
- Biological control - Beneficial insects, organic pesticides, or other natural methods
- Chemical control - Generally used sparingly as a last resort or not at all
Ideally, IPM is part of a holistic approach to the lawn, where the soil is in balance, the grass grows healthy and leaves no opportunity for pests.