Safety and the responsible stewardship of our environment and resources are fundamental to our approach at Nature’s Turf. We aim to provide services that are integral to the results our customers expect with careful consideration for our turf species, climate, and environmental factors. We care about how home lawn care affects the environment. While organics are commonly associated with environmental friendliness, let’s discuss the idea and utility of integrated pest management.
Which Is Better: Integrated Pest Management or Organic?
They aren’t mutually exclusive, and, frankly, it’s subjective and dependent on desired results.
The EPA defines integrated pest management as “an effective and environmentally friendly approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices.” Notice that this isn’t limited to organics.
Pests are organisms that are present where they aren’t wanted. In turf, this could be a weed, fungal infection, nuisance insect, or an animal that is feeding or foraging in your yard.
Integrated Pest Management Control Strategies
Each pest is reliant on three primary needs, often referred to as a pest triangle.
- The presence of the pest itself
- Environmental conditions where the pest can thrive
- A host that supports the pest in some way
Integrated Pest Management considers control strategies for each side of that triangle.
In the case of a weed, for example, the strategy may look something like this:
- How can we eliminate the pest itself?
- First, the use of an effective pre-emergent weed control product halts a large majority of annual weed development, greatly reducing the total amount of weed control products required to achieve low weed pressure. Should there be breakthrough, proper identification of the weed, and careful selection of a management product is considered.
- How can we make the environment less inhabitable?
- Examples of this may be aeration to relieve compaction, or levelling to reduce held water. Yellow Nutsedge and Doveweed, for instance, prefer wetter soils than our turfs. Correction increases turf health and could decrease pest potential.
- What can be done about the host?
- Healthy, dense turf does a great job of shading the soil and competing for water and nutrients. Proper fertility, mowing techniques, and an appropriate amount of water encourage optimal plant health.
Well-timed applications of specific fertilizers and weed-control products, while fundamental, are only part of the overall management strategy. At Nature’s Turf, we put similar thought and consideration into the other pests mentioned as well.
The ideas of integrated pest management can still be applied using organic products, but the results aren’t typically as effective. Organic doesn’t mean non-toxic, and an exceptional amount of organic product is often required, achieving poor results compared to their synthetic counterparts. As an example, the amount of nutrition per pound of organic fertilizer is generally much less, meaning more has to be produced, shipped, moved, and applied. Also, efficacy of organic weed control products is significantly lower, potentially meaning more applications more often if the label allows, but similar weed control is generally unachievable.
How Does This Apply To Nature’s Turf’s Approach?
At Nature’s Turf, we aim to be the cornerstone of your turf team. Where appropriate, the responsible use of synthetic products at EPA-approved, labeled rates enables us to achieve desired results with little product, comparatively. A healthy turf is not only beautiful but also can be a wonderful source of water filtration, air purification, and radiant heat reduction associated with concrete and asphalt surfaces.
We spend a lot of time and consideration formulating programs meant to optimize pest control from all angles with emphasis on plant health, safety, stewardship, and education. Our applicators are well-trained professionals, confident in their ability to accurately, completely, and effectively carry out the program, and our team of support professionals are ready to help strategize methods of control.
Give us a call or visit us online at Nature’s Turf. We’d love to discuss the programs we have to defend lawns and destroy weeds.