Urban / Small Farm Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Floating row covers to protect plants from pests
Aphid infestation on Asclepias speciosa

What is IPM?

Due to the aridity of the climate in New Mexico, plants must endure low precipitation coupled with high temperatures and poor soil quality. Understanding the best growing practices— whether it be for aesthetics or human consumption— can help us work towards a more sustainable future. Through the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), we can better improve pollinator habitat and other beneficial insect populations, as well as increase predation services—aiding in the removal of unwanted pests and removing/minimizing the need for chemical intervention.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to pest management that uses cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical controls to suppress pests in a way that limits environmental and health risks. Below are methods that can be integrated into your very own garden or small farm!

Cultural:

  • Keep plants healthy with proper water
  • Rotate crops
  • Practice good sanitation in the garden by removing infested plant material and fallen rotten fruit
  • Avoid pests by planting early or late in the season
  • Select disease, pest, or drought tolerant plants
  • Reduce competition with weeds

Mechanical:

  • Exclude pests using barriers like row covers
  • Hand-picking is good for small areas
  • Prune out infested plant material
  • Use a stream of high pressure water to dislodge pests

Biological:

  • Add flowers to attract natural enemies
    • Insect predators and parasitoids provide natural pest suppression
    • Make sure flowers are available from spring to fall
  • Plant a diversity of floral resources
  • Provide overwintering habitat
  • Minimize chemical exposure

Chemical:

  • Remember to use products that minimize effects on natural enemies, such as:
    • Insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, Bt sprays, neem oil
  • Best Practices for chemical control:
    • Don't spray when windy
    • Avoid spraying when flowers are in bloom
  • ID pest & apply correct pesticide
    • Apply to correct insect life stage

This site is dedicated to providing IPM-related resources for managing pests in the urban and small farm environments of New Mexico.

NMSU Agricultural Science Center - Los Lunas,
1036 Miller Road,
Los Lunas,
NM. 87031
Phone: (505) 865-7340