Also, a review of Cindy Withrow’s presentation is included below, thanks to L.F. for her notes!
February 24 Guest Speaker was Cindy Withrow, Master Gardener.
“Mrs. Withrow’s interest in pesticide-free gardening came from watching her grandfather in the garden. ‘I don’t think I ever saw him with a can of bug spray’ she recalls. Her interest in chemical-free gardening was re-ignited while living in Ponca City, Oklahoma where she observed a neighbor use the same techniques and experience the same great results. It wasn’t until she became a Kay County, Oklahoma Master Gardener in 2009 that she realized those techniques had a name – Integrated Pest Management. Cindy was thrilled when in 2012 she and her husband moved to Vancouver, Washington and she joined the Clark County Master Gardener program. Cindy is a big proponent of Integrated Pest Management in her own garden and her infectious enthusiasm will convince skeptical gardeners to give it a try, too.”
This presentation, like all our presentations, was FREE TO THE PUBLIC.
Summary of Cindy’s Presentation at Meeting
Cindy, who is a master gardener with a special interest in pesticide reduction, was influenced by several gardeners, including her grandfather, who maintained lovely gardens without any pesticide use.
She is a popular speaker in the area and a proponent of (IPM) Integrated Pest Management, which is a proactive, environmental sensitive approach of controlling pests through cultural, biological, mechanical and chemical strategies. Cindy defines pesticides as substances or mixtures intended to destroy pests (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides). These can affect health, the environment and non-target organisms.
Pesticides increased in use after WWII and the problems associated with their use was brought to light by Rachel Carson many years ago in her book “Silent Spring”.
She pointed out that in roughly half of sick plants, pests are not the cause. You must have the right plant, right place and right care to assure healthy plants.
Chemical intervention should be a last resort.
Attention must be paid to proper moisture, soil, soil PH and fertilizers. Plants stressed by decreased water in summer heat are more susceptible to diseases and pests.
Most insects (98%) are beneficial or do little harm. These beneficial insects are harmed and killed by pesticide use, including spiders, mason bees and parisitoid wasps ( only known predator for marmarated stink bugs).
She suggests that providing plants water and food for the birds is a natural way to reduce pests.
IPM divides strategies into 4 parts:
CULTURAL: identifying those factors that could affect health of plant, landscape, sunlight, wind patterns, structures, drainage, soil PH/type
BIOLOGICAL: utilizing nature’s expert pest control methods by attracting garden helpers: birds, beneficial insects, pollinators
MECHANICAL: hose it off, pluck it off, provide physical barrier between pest and plant remove affected leaves, disinfect garden tools (Lysol spray).
CHEMICAL: employed as last resort never use on windy days , on blooming plants, near water sources. Avoid using broad spectrum pesticides. Consider spot spraying. If you do use these products, realize that even organic choices can be harmful to the environment.