University of Vermont

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Vermont IPM: Integrated Pest Management for Vermont
“Vermont IPM Extension Implementation Program: 2017-2020”

Priority Area: IPM Implementation in Communities

Click here for the Vermont Extension Master Gardener website


Consumers are often quick to resort to over-the-counter pesticides when dealing with unknown pests in their lawns, landscapes, and gardens. The gardening public often rely on information from potentially untrained ‘big box’ store or garden center staff when making pest management choices. As a result, pesticides are used by consumers incorrectly or unnecessarily. The effective statewide UVM Master Gardener (MG) program will be used to deliver IPM information to 125 students/year through a 13 week course. According to our 2016 Course evaluation, 40% of the students did not know what IPM was before the class and 100% planned to adopt a new IPM practice. In 2017 we surveyed MG students from the 2015 and 2016 MG Course to see if they had adopted an IPM practice since the course. 100% of the 2015 and 89% of the 2016 students had adopted a new IPM practice as a result of the earlier training. Out of the 29 identified IPM practices the students could choose from, the highest number indicated they increased air circulation in the garden to limit foliar diseases (73%); 65% regularly inspected plants for pests and diseases and 35% increased use of resistant landscape tree and shrub varieties. The MG program also delivers IPM information through the toll-free MG Helpline, blogs, website, emails, MG outreach activities and advanced training webinars. In the 2016 gardening season, the Helpline received 1,046 calls, 377 emails (with ability to upload photos and questions in a template) and 107 specimens from home gardeners and consumers. According to our 2016 Helpline Client Survey, 95% of the Helpline inquiries related directly to pest id and IPM basic principles. In our 2016 year end survey, 93% of clients said they used a new IPM practice and 48% reduced pesticide use as a result of the diagnosis and recommendations. The UVM PDC will provide all diagnostic support for samples coming in to the MG Helpline. Stakeholders receiving the IPM information includes MG volunteers, home gardeners, consumers, hospitals, school gardens, agricultural fairs, community gardens, farmers markets, libraries, prisons, and garden centers. Each of the 523 active MG volunteers have visibility and projects in diverse communities throughout the state, amplifying an IPM message to many more consumers than could be reached without this established and well-respected program. These volunteers are active in the state forming connections and linkages with schools, agricultural fairs, farmers markets, community gardens, prisons, libraries, hospitals, condo associations and garden centers. They will educate Vermonters about garden and landscape pest identification and management using IPM strategies. Over 10,019 hours were logged by the volunteers in IPM outreach in 2016. The UVM Master Gardener program receives no salaries or funding from UVM Extension. The income from the 13 week MG course with 120 students covers about one third of the costs of the program and outreach. The requested VT EIP funds are critical to allow this vital IPM outreach and education program to continue and expand the IPM message to an important and diverse community of stakeholders including underserved populations comprised of new Americans, seniors and women.

Approach  - 

1. Master Gardener Course-A 13-week course with at least 120 students will be offered through a web-based platform. Several of the 3 hour lectures introduce and incorporate IPM: Entomology; Vegetable Crops; Plant Diseases and Pesticides 101; Turf Care; Landscaping & Planting for Pollinators and Caring for Woody Trees and Shrubs. The PDC team will be responsible for entomology, plant pathology and weed management lectures (see Secondary Priority Area: IPM Support for Pest Diagnostic Facilities).

2. Master Gardener Helpline-A popular statewide toll-free service staffed with trained volunteers to answer questions on insect, weed and disease problems and their management.

3. Advanced Training Webinars with factsheets-The MG program, in cooperation with the UVM PDC, will offer three advanced training webinars in IPM concepts and emerging insect, weed and disease problems. After consulting the 2016 Helpline volunteers and the client logs of calls and samples, it was determined the following three webinars would address a lot of recent inquiries from the public: “Using IPM for managing deciduous tree diseases and pests”, “IPM for diseases and pests in the home vegetable garden” plus “IPM for management of apple tree diseases and pests.” Factsheets will be developed on these topics and posted on the Master Gardener website. Webinars will be archived on the website and so they will be available for future Helpline trainings and for the general public.

Last modified September 22 2017 02:29 PM

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