PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

Turf IPM topics, concepts and practices

What exactly is IPM (Integrated Pest Management) anyway? With hundreds of "official" definitions available, it is hard to pin down one single answer to this question. There is even disagreement over who first originated the term.

The confusion that results is a bit frustrating, but shouldn’t be surprising. IPM is a concept that is constantly evolving, along with advances in pest control technology and our understanding of pest biology. For example, genetically engineered crops, precision management and newly imported pests such as the emerald ash borer are changing the way we think about IPM, even as we write this piece.

Rather than add to the confusion by proposing yet another definition (though if you are interested, you can view IPM definitions from the past and the present by clicking here), we have listed below some of the key pest management topics, concepts and practices that are common to almost all definitions of IPM.

For guidance on the types of images that are being sought in the PACE IPM Photo Contest, look over the information below. Your photo should be related to one or more of these themes. Click on the thumbnail photos to the right for examples. If you have questions about whether your photo is suitable for demonstrating IPM topics, concepts and practices, please feel free to contact us.

Adopt cultural practices that prevent turf stress so that plants are less susceptible to pest damage:


  • Grow pest-resistant varieties
  • Choose varieties best suited to your environment
  • Monitor/characterize weather conditions to forecast turf performance and/or pest presence
  • Adjust fertility, irrigation, aerification etc. to bolster healthy turf growth and to avoid stress
  • Manage water wisely
  • Manage soil salinity
  • Avoid mechanical stress: increase height of cut on greens, manage traffic
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    Identify pests (diseases, insects, weeds, vertebrates) and the damage they cause, understand their biology:

    • Monitor for pests
    • Be able to identify pests (all stages)
    • Know the conditions that promote pest activity
    • Be able to identify damage caused by specific pests
    • Know how to monitor for key pests

    Use all available tools to document/implement IPM:

    • Weather monitoring
    • Pest monitoring
    • Turf quality monitoring
    • Soil, plant tissue or water quality monitoring
    • Irrigation monitoring
    • Record keeping
    • Maintenance equipment (aerifiers, topdressers, etc)

    Integrate all available management methods, with an emphasis on least toxic methods:

    • Cultural controls
    • Mechanical controls (hand weeding, sand topdressing to reduce earthworms etc)
    • Biological control (use of parasites, predators and other living organisms to control pests)
    • Pesticide resistance management

    Conserve environmental quality, promote safety

    • Buffer zones
    • Water conservation
    • Nutrient management/runoff management
    • Erosion control
    • Spray drift control
    • Groundwater protection
    • Protect non-target organisms
    • Preserve natural enemies of pests (insect parasites and predators, microbes that attack turf diseases)
    • If a choice is available, select the least toxic pest control method available
    • Calibrate sprayers regularly; ensure that optimum nozzles, spray volumes are used
    • Handle pesticides safely
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