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Managing Invasive Pests

Mar 1, 2022 | Horticulture

Managing Invasive Pests

IPM Photo
IPM Photo 2

At Madison Square Park, we do not apply pesticides. Oftentimes the toxicity and broad application of chemicals can be detrimental to pollinators and other beneficial insects, especially if used incorrectly. And occasionally, these chemicals still fail to address the root of the issue.

Instead, we use an approach known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is used in managed landscapes and combines biological controls, cultural practices, and physical adaptations to handle pests. Ultimately, IPM looks to employ techniques that do the least amount of harm to the environment, animals, and people.

In the park, our gardeners are always looking out for signs of pests. Spotted lanternflies, mealybugs, aphids, viburnum leaf beetles, and mites are just a few of the pests we are on alert for. We take their life cycles into consideration to be sure we are applying the appropriate pest management techniques at the right time. Since we do not apply pesticides, we rely heavily on other methods, such as mulching leaves and reintroducing native plants, to keep our ecosystem in balance. This ensures we have a healthy supply of natural predators.

Over the summer, we discovered a large population of aphids on some Buttonbush plants. A few weeks later, we found lady bugs living in nearby Oaks. These lady bugs ended up knocking out the aphid population in no time, and there was no need for pesticides or other interventions. Biodiversity and a thriving ecosystem can be great tools in our IPM toolbox.

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Abigail Deville: Light of Freedom
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