Lawn and Garden Pests: Are You Ready for the Battle?

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Spring has officially sprung, or at least the calendar says so. But being in North Carolina, we all know spring 2.0 doesn’t start until after Easter. Much attention is turning to the great outdoors with yard maintenance and home gardening activity increasing. Aside from the pollen, it is my most favorite time of year. Spring is such a great reminder of the fresh beginning of a new season, with colorful blooms as the whole landscape bursts with lush growth in so many shades of green. There is something just pleasing about a freshly manicured yard complete with new mulch or a freshly tilled garden. If only those images could be frozen in time.

Unfortunately, nature brings a plethora of unsightly nemesis to cause reckoning on our prized yards and gardens. There is no need for an introduction. We all know this nemesis as weeds, insects, or diseases, showing up unannounced with no invitation, creeping into our beloved spaces. And so it begins – the season long battle of pests, drought, and extreme heat. You know the drill. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that has figured out a strong defensive attack. That could be hard lessons learned along the way as a Do-it-Yourselfer or calling in a professional. Or maybe you are the DIYer shrugging your shoulders in defeat for minutes on end as you peruse the garden center aisles, looking at product after product for answers to your latest pest dilemma. Don’t let these predicaments get you down. North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, is here to help!

Realizing the numerous challenges previously mentioned, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, has resources available to help make your defensive attack a victory. We often recommend an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to addressing your obstacles. What is IPM? By definition, it is a sustainable approach to managing pests that combines multiple approaches including prevention, avoidance, pest monitoring, and suppression, in a manner that minimizes public health, economic, and environmental risk.

Integrated Pest Management is a long-term approach using all the tools in the pest management toolbox. This may include selecting pest resistant varieties, choosing appropriate planting dates, using mechanical means like regular mowing, introducing biologicals like predatory insects, or as a last resort, using an approved pesticide to achieve control or suppression. This researched-based practice involves strategic planning, frequent scouting, and positive identification of the pest to be successful. You can find helpful information online or by contacting an agriculture agent at your local county center.

As a continuation of our “Your Table, Your Food” series, Extension will be offering a “Pesticides 101” on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the O.P. Owens Agriculture Center, located at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. training targeted for nonprofessionals or homeowners in need of some basic knowledge of when and how to safely use a pesticide  The training will cover the importance of reading and understanding a pesticide label, personal and environmental protection, proper pest identification, and how to calibrate a sprayer. No previous experience is required. Registration can be completed on Eventbrite.

For more information contact Mac Malloy, County Extension Director and Field Crop Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at (910) 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website.