Pest Management - Introduction

Early detection and treatment of pests means a healthier growing environment.

Pest management can be one of the greatest challenges to the home gardener. Yard pests include weeds, insects, diseases, and some species of wildlife. Weeds are plants that are growing out of place. Insect pests include an enormous number of species from tiny thrips, that are nearly invisible to the naked eye, to the large larvae of the tomato hornworm. Diseases are caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms, some of which are only now being classified. Poor plant nutrition and misuse of pesticides also can cause injury to plants. Slugs, mites, and many species of wildlife such as rabbits, deer, and crows can be extremely destructive.

Careful identification of the problem is essential before control practices can be used. Some insect damage may appear to be a disease, especially if no visible insects are present. Nutrient problems may also mimic diseases. Herbicide damage resulting from misapplication of chemicals also can be mistaken for other problems.

Courtesy of the USDA.