Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dormant Oil and IPM

Today's Blog............
Okay, Okay I can just hear it now, where are the colorful pictures and this is about as interesting as a root canal. Yes, but it is necessary, very, very necessary....we are applying way too many chemical properties to our landscapes and many are just simply not needed. Many have thought that if the label stated 1 ounce per gallon then 2 ounces would be twice as effective....no way "Mr. Bill". That label is  the law and should be adhered to, these chemicals have gone through extensive testing and the proper "doses" were arrived at through serious scientific analysis, more is not always better sometimes it is just more and can cause damage and even death to our plants if used incorrectly.
IPM is a program that does not dismiss the use of chemicals but determines if they are really needed and when that need is best  treated and by what method. Please believe me when I say the less toxic usage the better, but when needed, use the proper mixture and apply in the manner that the label specifies. Just because we see bugs in our landscapes does not mean we roll out the "scorched earth policy" some of those "bugs" could very well be beneficial and help the landscape, so back off... do some research, talk  to a nurseryman or a horticulturist and allow them to help you treat wisely.....Or better yet hire me and we can work together, (an obvious and shameless sales tactic)....Either way know before you apply........it will be better for us all.....


From The EPA

What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

How do IPM programs work?

IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:

1. Set Action Thresholds

Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.

2. Monitor and Identify Pests

Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.

3. Prevention

As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.

4. Control

Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.
(Information taken in part from Environmental Protection Agency...Thank You Very Much)

Dormant Oil Application
Dormant oil applications to trees and shrubs can be an  effective tool when managing many of our insect and disease problems.

The application is done once a year during the dormant season. In the North Texas area this is roughly January through Mid March. Many times Dormant Oil applications are used in conjunction with other foliar sprays, such as fungicide sprays for the management of fungal leaf diseases. The Oil helps reduce the levels of pathogenic fungi that can “over winter” (survive) in bark fissures and leaf scales or unopened buds. The Oil alone does not provide control, additional spray applications with an approved fungicide will need to be done in the spring after the tree begins to leaf out.
Dormant Oil applications are quite effective against “over wintering” insect pests. Many of our early season pest problems can be reduced with Oil applications. It bears repeating to mention  that the Oil alone does not always provide complete management. Additional foliar applications with an approved miticide or insecticide may need to be scheduled for a complete management program.
A particular insect pest that Dormant Oil is especially effective against is the various scale infestations we get in North Texas. If you own Red Oak, Live Oak, Pecan, or Silver Maple, you can find one of the various scale species. Sometimes the level of infestation may not warrant an application. However, this pest can increase in severity quite quickly. Many times it’s best to include Dormant Oil applications as part of an overall health management program. Applications on an annual basis will help to keep scale populations below damaging levels.
The material is a very finely refined oil product, with practically no odor, which acts to suffocate the “over wintering” target pest. It is by far one of the safest products used in pest management.
Many times you will find a recommendation to use a Dormant Oil application for your shrubs. For example, there are a variety of scale problems which Oil applications can reduce, especially on Holly sp.
(Information taken in part from Arborilogical Services, Inc...Thank You Very Much)

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