423 hortIPM: An Interactive Integrated Pest Management Program

in HortScience

In response to the goals set forth in Target 2000, a long-range environmental plan for the Texas/Floral Industry developed by the TAMU Nursery/Floral Management Team in cooperation with the Texas Association of Nurserymen (TAN), an interactive, World Wide Web-based integrated pest management program (hortIPM) has been developed for commercial nursery and greenhouse growers. The objective of Target 2000 is to assist growers in initiation of innovative cultural and structural practices, which will result in the following changes by the year 2000: 1) reduce water consumption to 1990 levels; 2) reduce current fertilizer and pesticide usage by 50%; 3) lower current energy consumption by 25%; 4) reduce current solid wastes from agricultural plastics by 75%; 5) develop applications for municipal wastes and composted materials for nursery and floral crop production. More so than in any other cropping system, ornamental stock producers apply pesticides on a calendar basis regardless of pest damage to prevent cosmetic injury to their crops, thus reducing their marketability. As justification for this misuse of insecticides, growers cite the extraordinary low damage thresholds associated with their crops. Nursery and floral crops producers that have better access to educational resources and recommendations may be more inclined to follow biologically sound pest management principles. HortIPM is designed as a tool to facilitate access to pest management information and enhance IPM programs already in place. Currently, hortIPM is in the developmental phase, on the cusp of release to a number of sites for preliminary evaluation.

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