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IPM for Small Nurseries

Is the practice of integrated pest management or IPM different for small nurseries over big nurseries? The individual practice of IPM can differ dramatically site by site. That is one of the benefits to the concept of IPM which can be quite general. It is a strategy, and many would argue, a very important strategy for optimizing pest management practices. It holds promise for nurseries of all sizes and shapes of thinking because while the individual practices may vary, giving enormous flexibility and allowing for customization, the key concepts remain the same.

Some of the critical concepts are listed below. Small nurseries benefit from designing a pest management program that incorporate these concepts.

Identify the problem
Understand pest biology
Monitor your plants
Action thresholds
Consider multiple tactics

Any one of these steps may range from simple to complex. Owners of small nurseries often must be the all-around expert. That can present a challenge but technology has greatly fascilitated access to a wealth of information that used to be available mostly to experts. That same technology can also help individuals, faced with a pest problem, strategically tackle the dilemma in an informed manner. Accessing currently available resources on the internet, many of which are free, can greatly enhance one's success with ornamental pest management.

The following resources may be helpful to both small and large nurseries alike with particular emphasis on the the following concepts:

Identify the problem and begin to understand the pest's biology.

It can be extremely useful to know what ailments and disasters commonly befall the plants of concern. There are several places through the internet that one can get a short list of the likely characters plaguing your plants.

Good places to look are the online versions of the PNW Insect and Weed Management Handbooks and the On-line Guide to Plant Disease Control.

Weed Management for Nurseries website, designed by Dr. James Altland at OSU has excellent and very specific information on weed identification and management in nursery systems with lots of images.

OSU Plant Clinic - This is a great place to start when you need an expert! This webpage gives informaton on how and where to send a sample and the fees, if any, for various services through the clinic. Another key feature that can be helpful to aid ID is the diagnoses by county feature. This feature, particularly the disease database, gives a very strong indication of what pests are being found in particular locations and plant species. The list generated also has links to images for many of the samples.

Digital diagnostics are gaining momentum. There is now an organized way to submit and track images (which can be combined with physical samples) sent for indentification. As part of the Distance Diagnosis by Digital Imaging project, OSU, WSU and Univ. of Idaho all have an on-line submission websites. This database allows users to actually build an archive of images associated with their samples and diagnoses. This is extremely important for designing pest programs, retaining a history of on-site problems, and training workers.

PNW Nursery IPM and Pest Alert System. This website is focused on pest management resources for ornamental plant production. The page combines targeted internet links, and original material and images to convey useful pest management information. The pest alerts can be found at the website and also received as emails directly with a free subscription. The alerts contain information on pest activity, pest management information, and usually links to more information or images.

Other useful diagnostic resources are available at the other resouces page under the diagnosis link.

For those who like books in front of them, there are many useful tombs designed with pest information for diverse ornamental production systems and landscape. One reference, a bit dated, is the IPM Bibliography for Ornamentals.


Website editor:
Robin Rosetta
Page last modified 11/17/06

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