University of Maryland Extension

Pest management strategies

Author: 
Neith Little, Extension Agent, Urban Agriculture


Urban Ag home | Table of contents

 Pest management is an iterative process, in which you build prevention into your farming system, address problems as they arise, and learn how to better prevent those problems in the future. Photo by Edwin Remsberg, © University of Maryland—AGNR Image Library.
Figure 19: Pest management is an iterative process, in which you build prevention into your farming system, address problems as they arise, and learn how to better prevent those problems in the future. Photo by Edwin Remsberg, © University of Maryland—AGNR Image Library.

Ideally, pest management follows a circular sequence of prevention, management, and learning (Figure 19).

What tools you use to prevent and treat problems will vary depending on whether you use organic methods, but the process of preventing, scouting for, treating, and reassessing is important for all growers.

Pest management strategies that urban growers use in particular include

  • using row covers and high tunnels (with netting on the vents) to exclude invertebrate and vertebrate pests;
  • using crop rotation to break disease and insect life cycles (can be challenging in small spaces);
  • removing heavily infested crops and planting something from a different crop family;
  • planting a diversity of crops;
  • planting native plants to encourage beneficial insects such as predators of pests;
  • trap cropping and intercropping;
  • mulching to reduce weed pressure;
  • tarping or using the stale seedbed technique to kill weed seedlings;
  • using insect traps to monitor infestations (be careful with baited traps, which can attract pests more than you want them to).

To learn more about pest management, here are the resources developed by UMD Extension:

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