The term "pest" can be a little confusing - it refers to insects, pathogens
causing plant disease, and weeds.
The potential danger of using pesticides and herbicides is well documented.
The book "Silent Spring", by Rachel Carson, was a seminal book which brought this problem to the general knowledge of the public in the early 60's. A huge amount of research has since been conducted on alternative methods for controlling plant problems caused by weed competition, disease, and insect pests.
Studies point to the need to understand the relationships between the plant, pest, and environment. Luckily, for us technicians, this ongoing research has produced results. There are now many practical techniques to control plant problems which eliminate or minimize use of harmful products.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM), refers to an approach which replaces "calendar based" and "blanket" applications of pesticides and herbicides. The techniques used can be categorized as cultural, biological, mechanical, and chemical.
An important part of IPM is monitoring the plants and environment to track potential problems. If the potential is high, various methods of control are considered. The least toxic method is selected, which provides acceptable control at a reasonable cost.
Throughout this website you will find suggestions for IPM control of many disease and critter problems in the Seattle area. I hope you will find them useful. Your input is always appreciated.