What is the pest problem?
Is it an insect, a weed or a disease? Consult gardening books or the resources listed in these pages for more help on pest identification and possible solutions.
Where is the pest?
Is it affecting one plant, a group of plants or the whole yard? Is the problem getting worse over time or has it stopped? Are any natural pest-predators already in the yard? Often, insect problems aren’t even noticed until the pests have already left.
How serious is the problem?
Be realistic and accept that some damage is inevitable in nature. Are plants likely to recover if they are left untreated or is the damage more severe? Is it dangerous to the plant’s health or just aesthetic?
Decide on the best, environmentally sensitive solution
What’s the pest’s weak point? Can it be eliminated by hand or a trap? Is it susceptible to pest predators or a natural pesticide? Will several controls in combination work better?
Start with manual, natural or biological controls. Use several in combination if necessary. If all else fails, select the lowest risk, least-toxic pesticide available, use as little as possible and always follow product instructions exactly.
Assess your success
Was the pest eliminated, suppressed to acceptable levels, no change at all, or did the program fail completely? Are adjustments to the program required? Was the solution beneficial, cost effective and worth the effort?
What if alternatives to pesticide don't work?
Unfortunately, there may be times where a problem escalates to the level that seriously threatens a plant’s appearance or health. Despite all your best efforts to establish healthy foundations and to ”go natural“ in your yard, you might now be considering the use of a synthetic pesticide. Read more >> © Image courtesy of Evan Leeson