Farmscaping: Making Use of Nature’s Pest Management Services – eXtension
Farmscaping is a whole-farm, ecological approach to increase and manage biodiversity with the goal of increasing the presence of beneficial organisms. Many pest populations can be managed by enhancing the efficacy and local abundance of the existing community of natural enemies through modification of the environment, a concept that has been termed “conservation biological control.”Farmscaping methods include the use of insectary plants, hedgerows, cover crops, and water reservoirs to attract and support populations of beneficial organisms such as insects, spiders, amphibians, reptiles, bats, and birds that parasitize or prey upon insect pests.Insectary plants like mustards interplanted with market crops provide pollen and nectar to attract and maintain beneficial insects in the crop landscape. Ideal farmscape plantings provide food and shelter for beneficial organisms, suppress weeds, and grow in close proximity to the cash crop without competing for space (light, water and nutrients). In some cases, the term “farmscaping” is broadened beyond just augmentation of insectary plants to include trap crops—i.e. host plants that are more attractive to the pest than the cash crop that are planted near the cash crop to “trap” pests, thus reducing pressure and damage to the cash crop.
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