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Washington Post: Pest Management


PUBLICATION: Washington Post

SECTION: Real Estate; F05

Some tips for integrated pest management:
* Site preparation is important. Healthy soil usually equals healthy plants. Dig in composted organic material. Ensure proper pH.

* Don't bag grass trimmings; mow regularly.

* Top-dress planting beds with a 2-inch layer of compost to control weeds, hold moisture and add nutrients.

* Install disease-resistant plants.

* Water thoroughly when planting and during dry periods.

* Selectively prune. Don't shear into balls and rectangles.

* Weed regularly.

* Employ physical controls, such as manual pest removal, bands around trees and attracting beneficial insects. Spray a stream of water, horticultural oil or soap to clean off and destroy insects and eggs.

* Monitor problems. Look for specific pests. Don't just kill "creepy crawly" things. Most insects aren't pests, and potentially harmful organisms can exist at tolerable levels.

* Try the materials that have the least impact on the environment first.

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