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University of Minnesota Extension

Preventing pests in your yard and garden

Many yard and garden pests can be controlled successfully without pesticides. There are many insects and diseases found in landscapes that create only cosmetic problems and not plant health problems, so treatments are not necessary.

Pest prevention starts with a healthy landscape. The wrong plant in the wrong place can attract diseases, insects and unwanted wildlife. Learn about selecting the best plants for Minnesota landscapes based on your site and pest resistance.

To treat or not to treat

To determine the best method for pest control in your yard and garden, we recommend integrated pest management (IPM) methods that include long-term solutions that pose less risk for your health and environment. Successful IPM practices may still use pesticides as part of a strategy, but they may not always be the first method for dealing with pests.

Nonchemical ways to control insects, plant diseases, weeds and wildlife

Before you can find a solution to a problem, it is important to identify the pest correctly when searching for answers. There are many identification and problem-solving tools available.


Selecting pesticide products

When pesticides do become part of the IPM strategy, choose them wisely and use them safely. Pesticides that are available to the public are often assumed to be safe. Pesticides are only safe to use when you follow the directions on the product labels.

CAUTION: Mention of a pesticide or use of a pesticide label is for educational purposes only. Always follow the pesticide label directions attached to the pesticide container you are using. Be sure that the plant you wish to treat is listed on the label of the pesticide you intend to use. And observe the number of days between pesticide application and when you can harvest your crop. Remember, the label is the law.

Reviewed in 2022

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