Plan The Work, Work The Plan

Treatment should be necessary only where preventative measures have not successfully kept the pest population below the injury threshold. The manual points out that often an IPM program begins with an existing pest problem that must be addressed before a landscape manager can plan a prevention program. Treatment options can be found in five broad categories: cultural, physical/mechanical, biological, genetic and chemical, the last being used only when necessary.

Finally, evaluation of the program is one of the most important processes in successful IPM implementation. Keeping records helps evaluate effectiveness, modify the program as needed, anticipate pest infestations, and document progress. The evaluation system should include five main components:

· Pest identification–proper identification is necessary for proper action

· Monitoring information–methods and monitoring data (e.g., temperature, humidity, number of pests, number of beneficial insects present, etc.) should be recorded for future analysis

· Pest management methods–record with enough detail to enable duplication of the control method under similar conditions

· Unusual events–detailing any extraordinary event, including accidents, prevents them in the future, and provides documentation in case of legal action

· Effectiveness of the program–assessing effectiveness will determine if re-treatments or alternate methods are necessary.

The manual also points out that the IPM process is only one part of a larger program of pesticide reduction strategies. It describes in detail the eight elements of a comprehensive pesticide reduction policy.

These elements include:

· IPM procedures as previously described

· IPM quality standards, a.k.a. risk standards, by which pests are managed on various public lands

· Alternate treatments for specific property classifications, such as letting an area go natural if there is no need to control certain pests there

· Expanded education and outreach programs so that all stakeholders can better understand the goals

· Development standards so that IPM and pesticide reduction become goals within the land-development process

· Parks capital upgrades, such as irrigation, drainage assessment and soil analysis, designed to support a pesticide-free environment

· Park facility permitting, aimed at programming the use of sports fields with planned maintenance, to enable the development of healthy turf

· Provision of a trained and qualified IPM coordinator to manage the complex science and tremendous labor involved in administering an IPM program.

Steffler stresses that the manual is continually a work-in-progress. “As different methods and products are tried, we can determine which options work, and change the manual to reflect the new information,” she said.

The remainder of the manual provides details for specific vegetation groups, such as turf, greenhouse plants, ornamentals and trees. A great deal of this material is applicable to sports turf, reflecting the fact that Steffler dedicated her first two years of IPM work on the 43 rectangular sport fields in Oshawa.

She notes: “The manual will be an evolving resource and will be modified as new products, information and processes become available.”

Randy Gaddo has for 10 years been the Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation and library) in Peachtree City, Ga. He and his staff work with 11 different youth sports associations and three special-interest associations. Prior to that, he was a U.S. Marine Corps public affairs officer for 20 years. As part of his duties, he was a community relations liaison with various volunteer groups in the cities surrounding bases where he was stationed. He just completed work for a master’s degree in Public Administration, with much formal education on working with volunteers. He can be reached by e-mail at dls@peachtree-city.org

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  5. IPM – What Does It All Mean?

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