Let’s suppose that you have done all your homework and are
familiar with the cultural requirements of your favorite plants.
You have started a garden and your plants are growing great.
Then one morning, after six weeks of hard work, you go to water
your vegetables and all the leaves are gone. What if it was a commercial
crop and now you have nothing to sell? The protection
of plants from hungry pests is an age-old problem. Integrated
pest management (IPM) is a decision-making process that is
used to manage organisms that are harmful to the garden and
is based on a fundamental knowledge of ecology. It applies an
integrated approach of chemical, biological, mechanical, and
Plants interact with insects, animals, microbes, and other
plants. Some insects, animals, and microbes are beneficial to the
garden and others are destructive. Nonbiological factors such
as climate and soil conditions affect the ecological balance of
the garden. For example, an unusually cold, wet summer can
promote fungal infections in plants. Alternatively, dry and dusty
conditions may contribute to outbreaks of destructive planteating
mites. This topic introduces some of the beneficial
and harmful aspects of the interactions that may occur between
plants and other organisms in either the rhizosphere (below
ground) or the phyllosphere (above ground).