Managing Pests and Weeds Safely
Every gardener has to contend with unwelcome guests, be they plant or insect. Bay-Friendly gardeners seek to limit pest problems by fostering a healthy environment in which plants have the strength to resist disease and insect infestations and to out-compete weeds.
This approach to managing pests and weeds is known as Integrated Pest Management. IPM is a suite of practices that looks at the whole context of the landscape and stresses the least toxic solutions.
An IPM approach to managing pests can:
- eliminate or greatly reduce the need for chemical pest control
- reduce contaminated runoff and protect the health of the San Francisco Bay
- protect people, pets and wildlife from potentially harmful chemicals
Tips for safer pest and weed control:
- Notice what’s going on. Observe where you see damage, and learn the habitats and needs of the pest players.
- Get help from field guides and gardening books, Master Gardeners and county extension agents.
- Tolerate pests as much as possible. Not all “pests” are actually problems that need attention. A healthy landscape includes a diversity of insects and probably even includes a few weeds.
- Select disease-resistant varieties of plants.
- Include plants that attract beneficial insects in the landscape.
- Learn more. Our Water Our World has fact sheets on pesticide alternatives and other information on creating healthy gardens.