Monday, March 16, 2009

Nursery and Landscape - Insect Control Basics

The following are are some insect control basics for nurseries and landscapes.

There is no simple magic formula for pest control on trees and shrubs. More than 250 species of insects and mites are commonly found which damage or are potentially injurious to over 100 genera of woody ornamentals. Great diversity by insects in host preferences, seasonal development, periods of activity, habits, and susceptibility to insecticides requires careful planning and critical timing of control measures. It is a simple fact that insects and mites will occur, multiply, and cause serious losses if ignored or inadequately controlled.

The most frequent cause of insect problems is the failure of nurserymen and landscapers is to carry out necessary control procedures properly at the right time due to pressures from other phases of production and maintenance. The consequence, without exception, is a much more difficult and costly situation.

The best way to control insects and mites is a preventive program. First, do not introduce pest problems. In nursery production, propagate or buy ONLY clean, uninfested stock plants. In municipal tree plantings or private landscaping, set out ONLY insect-free plant materials. The presence of a few hardly noticeable insects or mites at planting time is a sure source of extra work and costly effort later on. Second, draw up a seasonal pest monitoring schedule to prevent the establishment and buildup of insects and mites. Third, maintain regular surveillance of established plant materials and be prepared to schedule control measures for difficult or complex pest problems which arise.

Take advantage of assistance from your local Extension agent and the Extension specialists at the University of Delaware. Sussex - Tracy Wooten (302) 856-7303; Kent - Gordon Johnson (302) 730-4000; New Castle - Carrie Murphy (302) 831-1426.

Information take from the Virginia Pest Management Guide, Nursery Insect section by Peter B. Schultz, Extension Entomologist, Hampton Roads AREC, and Eric R. Day, Extension Entomologist, Virginia Tech.

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