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A Homeowners Guide to Integrated Pest Management

April 24, 2023

Integrated Pest Management

More and more homeowners are seeking new solutions to support our environment by using less toxic products on their lawns and gardens to control pests. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses more environmentally friendly pest control processes and reduces traditional chemical methods.


At Sheridan, we use a variety of methods on our farms, and we are continually learning and adapting to introduce practices to continue to protect our environment.


Here are some suggested methods of integrated pest control that homeowners can consider for their properties:


When plants are strong, they will have a better chance of resisting insects and disease. One of the significant reasons plants and turf succumb to insects or disease is stress. Plants can experience stress from prolonged periods of drought, high temperatures, too much or too little moisture, too much sun, overcrowding, and poor soil.


  • Water only in the morning. This helps to minimize disease when there’s too much humidity and ensures good air circulation around plants.
  • Add soil conditioners yearly. Peat moss, composted manure, or Fafard Sea Compost will help break down clay and shredded leaf mould and create a perfect growing medium. Compost is the best soil conditioner as it’s also a gentle fertilizer and will eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Determine soil fertility. A simple way to determine soil fertility is with a soil test kit. Determining deficiencies in your soil, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, will allow you to know how to treat the soil for better-growing conditions. When you know the soil pH, you can also determine the plants best suited for the soil.

Every garden contains insects; some are beneficial, and some are not. The critical thing to remember is that in a healthy environment, there is usually a balance between the two.


  • Carefully observe all your garden plants regularly to know when an infestation gets out of hand and threatens a plant’s survival.
  • In the case of scale, the ideal time to apply a spray is when it’s in its soft-shell stage in August/September and early spring. The timeliness of treatment is as vital as the insecticide itself.
  • For grubs, use beneficial nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic insects that invade grubs, deposit bacteria that ultimately kill them, and then move on to the next one. As the population of nematodes increases, so does their effectiveness.
  • For caterpillars use BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis). This is a commonly used biopesticide that has been used for many years to control caterpillars.
  • Safer’s® Slug & Snail Bait is a powerful bait that attracts slugs and snails and will not harm beneficial insects.
  • Insecticidal soap works to control most soft-bodied pests. Look at the full line of Safer’s® and Green Earth products for safe controls.

Some plants are naturally predisposed to certain diseases:

  • Roses are prone to powdery mildew, rust, and black spot. Avoid wetting leaves and watering roses in the evening to avoid black spots.
  • Climatic conditions are a significant factor in the proliferation of disease. A lot of rain over a prolonged period sets up a perfect breeding environment for infection. Your best defense is to remove damaged foliage as quickly as possible.

Weeds grow wherever there’s a gap. When a lawn is thin and in poor condition, weeds can quickly overtake it.

  • Add Fafard Viva Mix and Fafard Sea compost. It is a perfect compost for top-dressing lawns and gardens.
  • In spots where grass doesn’t grow, for instance, in the shade under mature trees, plant ground covers such as bugleweed (Ajuga reptans), Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis), or sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum). They form such a thick carpet that weeds will not grow through.
  • Physical barriers are also practical; Parkwood® Landscape Fabric prevents weeds from growing through.
  • Cedar mulch and bark chips prevent weed growth, minimize evaporation, and keep plant roots cool in summer.
  • Cutting plants back, such as dandelions, crabgrass, and thistles, before they seed prevents dispersal.

Visit a Sheridan Nurseries garden centre nearest you for helpful advice and assistance in choosing environmentally friendly products for your lawn and gardens.