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REGIONAL OUTLOOK: Pest Spectrum Calendar

Weed/Disease/Insect Control, Green Issue

When deciding which management approaches to take, professionals should consider the pest spectrum more often.

| September 10, 2008

Lawn and landscape professionals strive to provide customers with the most accurate communications regarding potential pest outbreaks. Prognostications may seem like guesses, but for professionals who track regional insect patterns, management plans are often spot on.
 
When deciding which management approaches to take, professionals should consider the pest spectrum more often. The principle of the multiple (pest) target concept states: “insect pests of turfgrasses rarely occur one at a time.” Regardless of the approach or combination of approaches (chemical, biological, cultural or natural), the impact on not only the primary target pest, but the other pests and their life stages throughout the growing season, should be considered.
 
For example, the primary target of a preventive approach applied in May might target grubs to prevent damage in late summer or fall. While prevention of grubs is the intended target of the treatment, other pests (secondary targets) present at the time of the application and over the active residual life of the treatment, may also be controlled or suppressed.
 
ASSEMBLING YOUR PEST SPECTRUM. A pest spectrum and target calendar specific to your location can be developed by reevaluating, reviewing and refocusing known damage and control of destructive insects and mites. Required inputs for this exercise include the knowledge, experience and history of pest occurrences in the area, as well as the knowledge and experiences of other turfgrass managers.
 
Starting with the month before the growing season begins, list the adult, larval or nymphal stages of all pests known to occur for each month (or two-week periods if activity times are shorter than one month) of the entire growing season at your location.

Some questions a lawn and landscape professional should consider when assembling a pest spectrum and target calendar include:

  • What insect and mite pests and/or symptoms of their damage have been seen?
  • What other insects and mites are known to infest the turf and plants at your locations?
  • What are the different stages of each pest and when do they occur in your area?
  • Which controls (chemical, biological or cultural) will you select? What is the spectrum of their efficacy against the pests you identified in your pest spectrum and target calendar and when is the optimal time to use them?
     
    The more knowledge a lawn and landscape professional  has about the turf and ornamentals being treated, the better chances of successful, preventive management. – Harry Niemczyk, Ph.D. and David Shetlar, Ph.D.

Niemczyk is emeritus professor turfgrass entomology at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and Shetlar is associate professor of landscape entomology at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

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