Maintaining health – managing pests

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Select the right plant for the location.
To maintain optimal health, plants must be situated in a spot that meets their needs. If your plants are not properly situated, they will become stressed and more susceptible to insect and disease attacks.

Water deeply as required.
Watering too frequently will result in shallow-rooted plants that are less tolerant of drought conditions and more susceptible to root-decay organisms.

Good nutritional balance is important.
Excessive nitrogen fertilizer can lead to overly lush growth that is prone to pest attacks and other plant health problems.

Maintain good soil fertility, which includes liming to correct pH problems. Fertilizer and lime applications should be based on soil test results, and should be applied at a time of year when they will be used by the plants and not lost through leaching.

Apply mulch to the bed to reduce moisture loss, weed growth and soil cracking. Mulch also moderates soil temperature.

Remove weeds to minimize competition with the landscape plants. Weeds should always be removed before they go to seed.

Prune to shape, to remove diseased and damaged branches, and to open the canopy for light and air penetration.

Aerate and top dress turf with sand to improve compacted, poorly drained soils.

Know the pests that commonly attack each plant and monitor for them. Only treat problems that seriously impact the health and/or appearance of the plant.

Responsible Pest Management, also known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), includes a process that helps gardeners or farmers deal with a pest when prevention is not the answer. The five steps for dealing with a pest in the most environmentally responsible way are: identify, monitor, determine acceptable injury level, select and implement treatment, and evaluate success.