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Put on Your Thinking Caps and Plan Ahead for the 2014 Gardening Season

Looking to brush up on your integrated pest management knowledge? Register now to ensure your spot at the 2014 Integrated Pest Management Academy.

‘Pink grapefruit’ yarrow is one of many outstanding yarrow cultivars for dry sites. Photo credit: Chicago Botanic Garden
‘Pink grapefruit’ yarrow is one of many outstanding yarrow cultivars for dry sites. Photo credit: Chicago Botanic Garden

By Erin Lizotte, Michigan State University Extension

Whether you are looking to save money, love fresh flavor or just enjoy working with nature, Michigan is a great place for growing fruit, vegetables, flowers and landscape plants. Michigan State University Extensionoffers many programs and resources for home gardeners, including the third annual Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Academy held Feb. 18-19, 2014, at the Okemos Conference Center in Okemos, Mich., located just outside of East Lansing, Mich.

The 2014 IPM Academy is a two-day workshop packed full of information to help you improve your IPMpractices and take advantage of all the great resources MSU has to offer. The presenters at this program include a number of MSU’s best and brightest research and Extension faculty, offering a rare opportunity to hear from experts working in a variety of disciplines and cropping systems at a single event.

The first day of the program will cover fundamental topics, including IPM strategies for disease and insect control; promoting and protecting pollinators; alternative weed control strategies; pesticide basics; the impacts of weather on pesticides; invasive pests; and IPM resources from MSU. On the second day of the workshop, participants opt into two, half-day sessions focused on the topic of their choice. This year, the day two sessions include the following options:

Morning sessions

Soil health: What is it, Why is it Important, and How Can it be Managed? 
Soil is one of the most important, but often the ignored components of successful plant production. Understanding the importance of soil management and how soil interacts with nutrients, water and pesticides will be explored during this session. Attendees are encouraged to bring soil test results to get a personal recommendation for their site and crops. This a cross-commodity session, everyone’s welcome.

Landscape Design and IPM: Getting it Right from the Start 
Many landscape plant problems are rooted in poor design or poor plant selection. This session will feature a discussion on landscape design, placement and selection of ornament plants and their implications when dealing with pest management in landscapes. This session may be of interest to landscape professionals or backyard enthusiasts.

Stewardship of Pesticides in Michigan Field Crops
Farmers use many tools to manage weeds, insects and diseases in their cropping system. Still, chemical controls are often favored for their ability to provide efficient and effective crop protection. This session will offer an overview of the many pesticide options available to field crop producers, discuss their modes of action and highlight management strategies that can be used to limit the development of pesticide resistance as well as practices that can be used to manage pest populations that already exhibit resistance. 

Hops: Getting Started
The morning hop session will cover an introduction to hops, soils and site selection, understanding soil and tissue testing, variety selection, trellising, irrigation and establishment costs.

Afternoon sessions

Hop Management
The afternoon hop session will cover planting and training hops, fertilizer and nutrient requirements, common insect mite and disease problems, scouting for insects and diseases, weed management and harvesting and processing hops.

Ecologically-Based Fruit Pest Management
Growing fruit can be an input intensive, challenging endeavor. Session participants will learn about ecologically sound preventative pest actions, pest management approaches and horticultural practices that can help lessen the challenge of growing fruit.

Managing Pests in Diverse Vegetable Rotations 
Michigan growers produce a wide diversity of vegetables at many different scales, which are challenged by a sometimes overwhelming diversity of insect, disease and weed pests. This session aims to introduce conventional and organic growers to an integrated set of control tactics—including cultural, chemical, mechanical and biological approaches—that can be used to manage pests in an economically and environmentally sound way.

Solving the Puzzle: IPM Planning and Implementation for Real-world Field Crops Systems
Integrated pest management makes sense on paper, but how do you fit this broad philosophy into a real-world cropping system? In this session, we will discuss how to develop a farm IPM plan that encourages pest management decisions that focus on maintaining efficiency and maximizing profitability. In addition, a panel of farmers will share with participants how they have successfully incorporated IPM principles into their farm plans.

Emerging Pest Problems of Michigan Landscapes 
New or invasive pests can cause significant economic and ecological damage. This session will review current and potential pest problems to Michigan landscapes such as oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid, thousand canker disease, Asian longhorn beetle and more.

Registration

The cost of this event is $225. Please note that snacks, lunch and parking are included. Participants also receive a notebook with program material and a complimentary IPM-related MSU bulletin. Michigan pesticide recertification credits and Master Gardener credits will be available.

For more information on the program, a full agenda or registration, visit http://bit.ly/ipm-academy14 . For more information or to register by phone, contact Betsy Braid at braidbet@msu.edu or 517-884-7081.

This program was developed with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visithttp://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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