Nursery IPM: It isn't just on Long Island anymore
In previous years efforts devoted to nursery IPM in New York were for the most part confined to Long Island. But now the opposite end of the state, Erie County, has joined the picture. Six hundred acres of field and container stock were scouted weekly in Erie County during the 1996 growing season. Appropriate IPM recommendations and training were provided to seven participating growers, with an eye toward making the program self-sustaining in future years. Growers were helped with scouting, pest thresholds, pest biology, use of traps to monitor and identify pests and beneficial insects, pest biology, consideration of weather conditions, and record keeping. They also had access to a new nursery IPM resource manual for help in diagnosing and managing pest problems.
Impacts of the Erie County nursery IPM program include these comparisons of the 1995 and 1996 growing seasons:
Changing from cover sprays to spot applications meant decreases in pesticide use from 9,100 gallons to 3,100 gallons at one nursery and from 17.5 acres sprayed to 11.5 acres sprayed at another.
Improved application techniques and better equipment resulted in a 37 percent drop in average plant injury at one nursery and a 30 percent drop at the other.
Increased understanding of pest biology enabled one grower to decrease the number of treatments for bacterial blight by 60 percent.
"Participating in nursery IPM programs broadens my circle of contacts. Karen Dean [Cooperative Extension educator] acts as a bridge to helpful resources such as other growers with the same pest problems.... It has also meant decreases in the amount of pesticide I use and in the time I spend on the telephone searching for answers to pest problems."
-Ken Lawton, General Manager, Congdon and Weller, North Collins
In addition, 1996 saw one grower use biological control for the first time at his 20-acre Erie County nursery. Several releases of lady bird beetles helped to manage green peach aphid on flowering shrubs sufficiently to reduce that grower's pesticide use.
In an effort to reach a wider audience, IPM area extension educators offered two evening programs for wholesalers, retailers, garden center employees, and landscape professionals. Many of the attendees found the hands-on pest identification sessions helpful and expressed their hope that similar sessions will be offered in the future.