What are the Different Kinds of “Controls” Used in IPM?

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Some agricultural or horticultural practices are challenging to define as just one kind of control method. Nonetheless, here we’ll try to do so in order to define these terms with examples:


1. “Genetic Control”: Selecting cultivars for host-plant resistance to expected primary pressures.


2. “Cultural Control”: Cultural controls are a broad set of grower protocols and practices that reduce pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival, including, but certainly limited to, irrigation, fertigation, and sanitation practices. Other examples are crop rotation, companion planting, intercropping, delayed planting, early harvest, or other intentional timing.


3. “Physical/Mechanical Control”: mulches, soil sterilization, squishing pests by hand, using barriers or screens, weeding, tillage practices, heat-based techniques, using trap crops, or other traps, and various forms of habitat manipulation or otherwise physically or mechanically creating environments that are inhospitable to pests and pathogens.


Using banker plants, or otherwise providing resources for biological control agents (BCAs) to establish their populations by feeding and reproducing, can be considered a physical or a cultural control method


4. “Biological Control”: Biocontrol is a method of controlling pests using other organisms. So, technically, “microbial control” is a subset of biocontrol, as it utilizes