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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:

  1. Notice what’s going on. Observe where you see damage, and learn the habitats and needs of the pest players.
  2. Get help from field guides and gardening books, Master Gardeners and county extension agents. 
  3. 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.
  4. Select disease-resistant varieties of plants. 
  5. Include plants that attract beneficial insects in the landscape. 
  6. Learn more. Our Water Our World has fact sheets on pesticide alternatives and other information on creating healthy gardens.
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