Since I started this blog last August all of the posts have been about making homes healthy by eliminating pests and preventing future infestations. I’ve dealt with animal pests in and around structures—insects, rodents, and some wildlife. But there are other kinds of pests too. Weeds and mold come to mind.
Integrated pest management (IPM) began as a system for growing crops by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. There is a lot of research and information on IPM for plants. Not just crops, but trees and shrubs, lawns, home gardens, and houseplants. Residents and grounds crew deal with plants and should know IPM recommendations before planting, watering, trimming, or spraying pesticides on them. A pesticide is a chemical used to prevent, destroy, or repel pests.
I’m collecting cockroaches in homes this week. Spring has sprung in the Northeast. I see residents planting container gardens and staff mowing lawns. It’s great to see fresh herbs and veggies growing in public housing! Healthy, environmentally friendly lawn, garden, and landscape practices can reduce erosion, stream sedimentation, flooding, and runoff of pollutants into local waterways as well as reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to children, adults, pets, and wildlife. Family developments should minimize chemical use on grounds as much as possible—the risk of exposing kids to a pesticide or other lawn chemical may outweigh the benefit from using it.
I encourage you to download and post the lawn care posters developed by the Northeastern IPM Center’s Community IPM Working Group. These have been on display at the U.S. Botanic Gardens in Washington, DC! The link below will take you to a page that requests some information. After filling in the four simple fields, you can download and use the posters. Post them in the maintenance office or give them to landscape contractors. http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/content/downloads.cfm
Need a spring program idea? Hold a class on container gardening for residents. Reach out to your local cooperative extension office—they may have materials for running this type of event. Find your local office here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/.
Got a gardening question? Call the Home and Garden Information Center hotline 1-410-531-1757 or visit www.hgic.umd.edu. I recommend their vegetable, fruit, and herb gardening page for reading up on garden pests: http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/content/publications.cfm#Vegetable%20and%20Herb%20Gardening.
If you want to know more about planting, visit Cornell University’s home gardening page. For example, here’s one on tomatoes: http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/sceneea10.html#growinginfo.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!