Garden, Lawn, and Landscape Pests: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Gardens & Landscapes May 17, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF

Garden, Lawn, and Landscape Pests | Integrated Pest Management (IPM) | Diseases | Insects | Weeds

Vera Krischik, University of Minnesota [1]

The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach can be applied to home, gardens, and structures. IPM is a decision-making process that uses the biology of the pest to manage the pest at the most vulnerable stage in its life cycle. IPM uses conventional and biorational insecticides when necessary. This is in contrast to organic gardening, which relies on manipulating the environment with soil amendments to reduce pest problems and using only organically approved pesticides.


IPM Tactics

  • Scouting: Looking for insects and damage throughout the growing season so you can manage them before they are a risk to the plant.
  • Cultural management: Properly watering and placing the plant in proper light to reduce stress.
  • Identification: Identifying the pest and knowing about its damage potential; also knowing the proper stage in its life cycle.
  • Damage diagnosis: Knowing the type of damage that pests produce.
  • Pesticide choice: Knowing the proper pesticide(s) to use.
  1. Biorational - oil, soaps, Bacillus thuringiensis, spinosad, selective miticides that are friendly to good bugs and the environment.
  2. Conventional pesticides - for spot treatments, not broadcast treatments; for use only when the pest is in its vulnerable stage; requires proper safety procedures to ensure no harm to humans or the environment; scouting plants for pests to see if the tactics were successful is recommended.

Professionals can purchase pesticides from horticultural supply businesses and consumers can get them at garden centers. As an example, the biorational insecticide spinosad (for leaf beetle, moth, and sawfly larvae) is sold to homeowners in ready-to-use formulations and to professionals in other formulations. For organic production, a different name and label is used. Pesticides that are used for organic production are approved by the Organic Materials and Research Institute (OMRI). Each state produces online readings on insect pests, their biology, management and insecticide choice. Look up the recommendations for your region of the United States.

Garden, Lawn, and Landscape Pests

Healthy gardens, lawns, and landscapes require proper sanitation, fertilization, and watering to keep plants vigorous and to reduce problems with diseases, insects, and weeds. Diseases, insects, and weeds need to be managed using IPM principles. Use the following resource to find IPM information for your area of interest and region.

  • Regional IPM Resources

Principles of Integrated Pest Management - IPM

IPM is a decision-making process to manage diseases, insects, and weeds by timing pesticide applications to the vulnerable life stage of the pest. Use spot treatments of pesticides; do not use broadcast sprays. IPM reduces the use of pesticides to help reduce nontarget effects on humans and the environment. See the following sections on diseases, insects, and weeds for detailed information.

Fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases can reduce growth and flowering of our cultivated plants in the lawn, landscape, and garden. Also, abiotic conditions can cause symptoms in plants that need to be addressed by altering the growing conditions of the plant. Learn how to identify and manage your disease problem using the principles of IPM.

Most insects are beneficial, such as lady beetles and bee pollinators. A pest insect reduces the beauty and growth of our cultivated plants in the lawn, landscape, and garden. Learn how to identify and manage your insect problem using the principles of IPM.

Weeds reduce the vigor of plants by competing for space, nutrients, and water. Learn how to identify and manage your weed problem using the principles of IPM.


  1. Vera Krishik, Associate Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.