Step 5 Pest Management

Ladybugs Eating AphidsControlling Yard Pests

Insects are the key to a healthy habitat. Eighty percent of animals eat insects or eat animals that feed on insects. While we may be tempted to eliminate them, unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms, and the environment. NatureScape yards use an environmentally friendly approach to pest control with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. IPM focuses first on identifying the problem and then using a combination of natural resources and pesticides to solve it. Depending on the problem, you may be able to use beneficial insects, such as lady beetles, to attack the bugs that are destroying your plants. Try non-toxic horticultural oils as another safe alternative to pesticides.

If chemical control is necessary, use the safest and most effective pest management techniques. Often problems can be resolved without the use of pesticides. Some safe alternatives include using barriers to block pest entry, and using horticultural oils or soaps.

Here are some things you can do in your yard to avoid pest problems in the first place:

  • Use pest-resistant plant varieties that can tolerate the conditions in your yard.
  • Go easy on water and fertilizer. Using too much of either wastes time, money and causes excessive growth, which makes plants vulnerable to insects and disease.
  • Mow to the proper height and prune selectively. When you mow your grass too short or over prune your trees it weakens them and invites pests. Mow St. Augustine grass at the highest level of your lawn mower.

Even when using native plants in your landscape, which are naturally pest resistant, you may need to use pesticides. When using a pesticide, treat only the affected plants. Handle and store pesticides safely. And always:

  • Read and follow all label instructions carefully. The label is the law.
  • Keep pesticides in their original containers.
  • Apply pest control chemicals during cool parts of the day (early morning or evening)
  • Never apply pesticides during windy days or on plants suffering from lack of moisture.
  • Keep pesticides stored in a dry, well-ventilated place away from the reach of children.
  • Do not store foods where pesticides are kept.

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