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Weed Control
Cedar Rapids Parks Operations staff utilizes the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method for pest management and invasive weed control. All pesticides and products are approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are used according to their label as required by law. Products are applied by staff with a Pesticide Applicators License through the State of Iowa. If there is a required delayed reentry period specified on the label, staff will post information on-site.
Spot spraying problem weeds, photo credit: Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service


Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

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.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Supplemental Information:

National Pesticide Information Center – Weed Control and Herbicides

 

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