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Using Nature to Manage Landscape Pests - EPA in Main Floor Exhibit at Philadelphia Flower Show

Release Date: 3/1/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – By using nature to manage landscape pests – one of the techniques of integrated pest management – gardeners can reduce potential harmful water pollution run-off and increase an area’s diversity of plants, bugs, and animals. That’s good ecology.

To help people understand this important method, EPA has collaborated to create an exhibit for the Philadelphia Flower Show which will run from March 4-11. The exhibit demonstrates ways to limit use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and still have a successful garden using integrated pest management (IPM.).

EPA’s exhibit, filled with native plants and shrubs, will show that healthy natural areas have richer diversity of plants, birds, animals and bugs, which builds ecological stability.

IPM is pest control for any kind of garden. Three IPM tips are:

      1. Use native plants - - they resist native pests and disease better. Although IPM can be used in any kind of landscape.
      2. Timing - - learn the best time to control pests, and how. Start by diagnosing the problem: Then use the least toxic methods of pruning or hand removal first, and then pesticides as a last resort. In between these options is a whole range of actions, including attracting or introducing natural predators, using natural pesticides, and using insecticidal soaps and oils.
      3. Shelter – possibly the most surprising, put up bat houses. Bats eat lots of insects and help to maintain a balanced insect population. Or add bird houses. Birds are a well known consumer of insects. Eastern bluebirds, house wrens, Carolina wrens, chickadees and downy woodpeckers are some of the incest-eaters that will use a bird house.

The EPA’s part of the main floor exhibit is presented in conjunction with Temple’s University Department of Landscape Architecture. The exhibit shows the ecological significance of natural resources, including woodlands, wetlands, and streams. Plus, it gives people ideas they can apply to their yards and communities.

Flower show visitors will learn that preserving, protecting and restoring natural areas and native plants can assure valuable habitats for helpful insects and animals. Ultimately, these areas will also benefit surrounding communities and improve the health of the landscape.

Photos of some of some the most exciting plants in this year’s exhibit are available by email in a JPEG format. They include:

C shadblow (Amelanchier canadensis);

C redbud (Cercis Canadensis);

C fringe tree (Chionanthus Virginicus);

C coast azalea (Rhododendron atlanticum);

C Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron Canesens);

C Carolina rhododendron (Rhododendron minus); and

C pinkster azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides).

The entire IPM exhibit is a collaborative effort between U.S. EPA, the Cooperative Extensions of Penn State, the University of Delaware and Rutgers University, Delaware Valley College, the Horticulture Academy of Lincoln High School, W.B. Saul High School, and the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades.