Routine inspection results in early detection and identification of problems. Inspection is essential for any successful IPM program.  If plants and plant health are not monitored, pest populations may exceed tolerable levels before being detected. Specific inspection intervals depend on the plant, pest, site, and season.  Having-and using-a detailed site description and map is an important tool for a monitoring program. Focus your attention and efforts on key pests, varieties, and locations.

A key pest in turfgrass systems meets at least one of following criteria:

  1. It occurs regularly in densities that justify management.
  1. It attacks and damages turfgrass(es) in very conspicuous or valuable areas.
  1. At relatively low densities, it is capable of causing unacceptable damage.


Key varieties in turfgrass ecosystems meet one of the following criteria:


  1. They are conspicuously located or have a special ”high profile” use (ex. bentgrass on a golf green). Even if they sustain infrequent damage, they need more attention because of their placement in a landscape or due to the quality required for their use.
  1. They sustain damage from pests on a regular basis, or have a particular pest that can kill or disfigure them in low densities.


Key locations in turfgrass are:

1. Areas that merit frequent attention because they are heavily used or are significant in some way.  For example, the front lawn of the county courthouse or the greens on a golf course would probably be considered key locations by the people who use and manage them.

2. Areas where turfgrasses have chronic problems with pests.  An example is a sun• exposed section of a lawn next to a south or west side of a building.  In cool weather, clover mites may be a troublesome pest. Another example is a low-lying and/or shady area.  Prolonged leaf wetness in such sites may promote disease.  Heavy foot traffic may cause soil compaction and allow weed encroachment.  In summary, pay special attention to sites that have more severe pest problems than grasses of the same species or varieties growing in different (more favorable) locations.

3. Areas that are near something or someone requiring special protection. Examples include turf areas near a heat pump or air intake, on a playground at a school or day care center, or near a pond or sinkhole.


In some cases, a troublesome pest in a sensitive location may be managed by altering the environmental conditions at the site.  For ex• ample, it may be possible to fill in a low spot, cut trees to reduce shading, or redesign landscapes to minimize concentrated foot traffic on turf.  In other situations, the best approach is a sound IPM program. The tactics described in this unit provide the framework for such a pro• gram.  IPM programs use all appropriate pest control strategies to reduce pest populations to an acceptable level. They use an assortment of specific strategies aimed at providing the desired control for the site and situation. When a pest infestation requires action, IPM plans use the best of one or more applied controls.  These may include biological, cultural, mechanical, and chemical control.

A primary point in developing an IPM program is determining what an acceptable pest population is. In many cases, low numbers of pests may be present without a major loss in turfgrass quality. In fact, a limited number of pests are necessary for some biological controls.  For example, natural predator populations cannot survive without a food source.  If consumers and the public will tolerate low pest numbers, a wider choice of control methods is possible.  A desire to eliminate all pests limits control options.  In some situations, a zero pest population level is not possible or necessary.  However, in others it is imperative that turfgrass be pest free (or nearly so).

Features of turfgrass sites affect the use of various controls.  Hand removal of pests is impractical.  Predators released in areas with few barriers may be lost.  Pesticide use options may be limited.  Some products are labeled for use only on certain turfgrass species or varieties, or on specific sites.  Many labels carry restrictions or special precautions intended to protect sensitive areas and water quality. Other considerations include exposure risks to nontarget organisms, costs, possibility of objectionable odors, and access to treated areas.

IPM plans are not meant to be static. They must be adjusted periodically, based on results.  They may need to be modified if new pests pose new problems.  They should change to take advantage of new materials and methods.  Pest management procedures may produce unanticipated or undesirable effects.  Always monitor the effects of your pest management actions.  Be prepared to adjust your IPM program if/when needed.

The Quiz for this section is at the end of Section (or “Topic”) Four. Once you read and understand the above information, please click on the “Mark Complete” button pasted below.