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Earth Kind Gardening Series. Cultural Control Practices Extremlym

Earth Kind Gardening Series. Cultural Control Practices Extremlym

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Published by: Extremlym Vertebra on Jul 13, 2011
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Division o Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheetsare also available on our website at:
Earth-Kind Gardening Series
Cultural Control Practices
David Hillock
Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Clydette Borthick
Extension Consumer Horticulture Assistant
Eective control o insects, diseases, and weeds shouldbegin beore the garden is planted. Cultural controls play a keyrole in this eort. Cultural controls are ways o modiying thegarden environment to hamper pests’ breeding, eeding, andshelter habits. Cultural control practices can help reduce theneed or pesticides while still maintaining a healthy garden. Ahealthy garden helps ensure healthy crops, and healthy cropsare less susceptible to pest damage.
Some Helpul Defnitions:
Cultural Control—
the purposeul manipulation o agarden’s growing, planting, and cultivation to reduce pestdamage and pest numbers. 
Earth-Kind Gardening—
a program developed by theOklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and the Texas Ag-ricultural Extension Service to address environmental gardenand lawn issues. The program promotes an environmentallysound stance on pesticide and ertilizer use, water quality,resource conservation, and solid waste management. Earth-Kind Gardening encourages non-chemical practices such ascultural, mechanical, and biological controls or garden pests. 
Organic Gardening—
a system o growing healthy plantsby encouraging healthy soil and benecial insects and wildlie(also known as “natural,” “ecological,” or “common sense”gardening). The philosophy includes the way gardeners treatthe soil, design their gardens, and choose which plants to grow.It also includes how gardeners decide which ertilizers to useand how they control weeds and pests. Organic gardenersavoid using synthetically produced ertilizers, pesticides, andlivestock eed additives. However, the term organic garden-ing has dierent meanings among dierent individuals, soa synthetically manuactured ertilizer or pesticide may beobjectionable to one organic gardener but acceptable toanother.
Cultural Controls: Making Your SiteUnattractive to Pests
Cultural control methods include properly selecting androtating crops, sanitizing and solarizing the soil, choosing thebest planting and harvest times, using resistant varieties andcertied plants, taking advantage o allelopathy, and intercrop-ping.
Crop Rotation
Certain pests are more common in some crops thanin others. Rotating crops to dierent sites can isolate pestsorm their ood source or can change the conditions pestsmust tolerate. I another site is not available, change thetype o crops grown in the garden plot. Do not put memberso the same plant amily in the same location in consecutiveseasons. For example, do not ollow melons with cucumbersor squash. This is also true or rotations using green manurecrops, which add organic matter to the soil when they aretiled in beore they produce fowers or seeds.Waiting two years to plant the same amily o vegetablein the same location is the most eective rotation practice;however, yearly rotations can also be benecial. Rotatingannual fower plantings is also a good practice.
Many organisms responsible or disease and insectproblems overwinter in plant debris such as shriveled ruit.Diseases on these shriveled ruit inect new leaves ollowingspring. Removing crop residues, weeds, thatch, and volunteer
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service 
plants by either disposing o them in a compost or by spadingthem into the soil will deter pest buildup and eliminate ood andshelter or many insects and diseases. You can also reducepest buildup by controlling weeds in the garden, landscape,and adjoining borders.
Soil Solarization
A clear plastic sheet spread over the soil traps solar heat,which kills soilborne diseases, insects, nematodes, and manyweed seeds. The treatment should occur during summer’shigh air temperatures and intense solar radiation. Keep the soildamp during the solarization process, and keep the plastic inplace or several weeks. OSU Extension Fact Sheet F-7640explains soil solarization in more detail.
Timed Plantings and Harvests
Many crops may be planted or harvested early to missheavy pest inestations, while still achieving a ull yield. Plant-ing earlier than normal may involve the use o cold ramesor hot caps to protect seedlings orm the weather while theyget a head start growing. The crop then has a competitiveedge over pests. Early planting depends upon the gardenerknowing the emergence times and lie cycles o the pests tobe controlled.
Resistant Varieties
When buying seeds or plants, try to choose those withbuilt-in resistance to diseases and nematodes. Sources orthis inormation include OSU Extension Fact Sheets, seedcatalogs, and plant and seed packages. It may be better toorego some production capability in avor o the increasedpest resistance, i you must make such a choice. During thegrowing season, stressed plants can lose their resistanceto pests, so be sure the crop has the water and nutrients itneeds. When shopping or seeds and plants, check the labelsor abbreviations similar to these, used to designate varioustypes o pest resistance or tolerance:A—Alternaria stem cankerALS—angular lea spotANTH—anthracnoseCMV—cucumber mosaic virusDM—downey mildewF—Fusarium (race 1)FF—Fusarium (races 1 & 2)L—leaspotMDM—maize dwar mosaicN—nematodeNCLB—northern corn lea blightPM—powdery mildewSCLB—southern corn lea blightSt—Stemphylium (gray lea spot)SW—Stewart’s wiltTLS—target lea spotTMV—tobacco mosaic virusV—Verticillium
Certifed Plants
When they are available, consider buying plants labeledas “certied” or grown and inspected under sterile or quaran-tined conditions. Certied plants may cost more than others,but the certication guarantees they are ree o diseases.Strawberries and potatoes are among crops which may beoered as certied plants.
Allelopathy, a natural chemical interaction among plants,has been the subject o much research recently. Allelopathyreers to stimulatory as well as inhibitory properties. A livingplant may release toxins, or in the case o decaying plant tis-sues, microorganisms may play a role in the release o thetoxin. The microbes may also modiy nontoxic compoundsinto toxic compounds. Black walnut trees and Johnson grassare among plants that have been shown to inhibit the growtho winter annual weeds and may oer some control o rootknot nematode.
Intercropping or “Companion Planting”
The premise o companion planting is that certain plantsrepel insects, or attract benecials that attack the insects.There is no signicant data to prove the value o companionplanting or intercropping, but it is thought that certain plantsmay produce substances which conuse insects, altering theirimpact as a pest. Some evidence also shows that plantingfowers among vegetables attracts benecial wasps seekingthe fowers’ nectar, and those wasps lay their eggs in thelarva o certain pest species. There is a popular but largelyinaccurate belie among gardeners that marigold will controlnematodes and other insects i planted among vegetables.Most marigold varieties do not have this capability. Only theFrench marigold (
Tagetes patula 
) varieties, such as Nemagold,
Vegetables Families
Tomato Family:
tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant
Onion Family:
onion, shallot, leek, chive, garlic
Beet Family:
beet, Swiss chard, spinach
Cole Crop Family:
cabbage, caulifower, broccoli, brussels sprouts,bok choy, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish,rutabaga, turnip
Legume Family:
bean, pea, cowpea, peanut
Carrot Family:
carrot, celery, celeriac, parsley
Cucurbit Family:
cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin,squash, gourds
Lettuce Family:
lettuce, chicory, endive
Green Manure Crop Family:
hybrid sudangrass, buckwheat, soybean, cowpea,mung bean, garden pea, ava bean, ryegrass,rye grain, barley, oats, vetch, Austrian winter pea,clovers, greens
When buy-ing seeds orplants, try tochoose thosewith built-inresistance todiseases andnematodes.
Petite Blanc, Vinca, and Queen Sophiahave been shown to reduce nematodes,and that reduction is only in their im-mediate root zones. To use the Frenchmarigolds as a control or root knot nema-tode, they should be planted throughoutthe garden area, as a mass planting, oras a rotation crop. This does not alwaysprovide consistent control and oten isthe least eective method or control othe nematodes. The marigolds may alsoattract spider mites tot the garden as theyare a avorite host o mites.No data rom scientic studies exist to prove the value ocompanion planting. However, the companion planting partnerslisted in the table on page 4 are thought to have compatiblegrowth habits. They share space well, and in many instancesare believed to be allies by enhancing each other’s growth andby warding o insects. “Antagonist” plants in the last columnare believed to inhibit growth o the target plants.
…certainplants mayproducesubstanceswhich con-use insects,altering theirimpact as apest.
The ollowing reviewers contributed to this publication: JimCoe, Extension Educator, Agriculture and CED, ComancheCounty; Jim Criswell, Associate Proessor and Pesticide Coor-dinator, OSU Department o Entomology and Plant Pathology;Gerrit Cuperus, Proessor and Extension IPM Specialist, OSUDepartment o Entomology and Plant Pathology; Ted Evicks,Extension Educator, Agriculture, and CED, Pittsburg County;Betsy Hudgins, Assistant Extension Specialist, OSU Depart-ment o Entomology and Plant Pathology; Gordon Johnson,Proessor and Extension Soil Specialist, OSU Department oPlant and Soil Sciences; Cathy Koelsch, Extension IPM Agent,Oklahoma County Extension Oce; Ron Robinson, Exten-sion Educator, Agriculture and CED, Gareld County; LeslieRoye, Extension Educator, Agriculture, Wagoner County; AlSutherland, Area Extension Horticulture Specialist, ChickashaArea Oce.

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