Nursery & Landscape IPM
Nursery and landscape industries are fast growing segments of U.S. agriculture, contributing around $147 billion each year to the U.S. economy and supporting over 600,000 workers. Over the last 20 years, public demand for high quality ornamental plants has more than tripled, with more than $20 billion spent each year at retail and mail order stores on plants and associated products for lawns, parks, urban forests, golf courses, etc. Beyond their economic value, these plants are integral to human health, recreation, and community pride. Properly placed and maintained plants—especially urban trees—absorb noise and air pollutants, purify water, reduce soil erosion, and provide wildlife habitat. However, ornamental plants are threatened insect pests and diseases. Widespread shipping and planting of ornamental plants has facilitated the rapid spread of these pests and diseases, and current suppression and eradication efforts are complicated and costly. Concerns about environmental and human health risks have led to restrictions on many available insecticides and fungicides. For example, there are critical concerns about the impacts of insecticides on honey bees and native pollinators. Heavy use of pesticides also increases the potential that pests and pathogens will develop resistance. Nurseries, landscapers, homeowners, and governments are now embracing integrated pest management (IPM)—an environmentally sensitive and economical approach that combines natural plant resistance with available control techniques, including prevention, monitoring, pheromones, trapping, weeding, and judicious chemical pesticide use. To implement IPM, more detailed information about pest biology is needed in addition to new tools for predicting and monitoring outbreaks.