Integrated Pest Management

Photo of diverse local plants
Diverse plantings make integrated pest management easy.
  • Register for upcoming trainings or see past presentations & videos at Training & Certification. También en español.
  • See the IPM fact sheets at right for pest & disease identification, life cycle, monitoring, damage threshold, and least-toxic treatments.
  • See links at bottom of this page for more IPM solutions, or for questions email the Garden Hotline or call (206) 633-0224.

What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses regular monitoring to determine if and when treatments are needed to control weed, insect, or disease pests. IPM employs physical, mechanical, cultural, biological and educational tactics to keep pest numbers low enough to prevent unacceptable damage or annoyance. Chemical controls are used as a last resort, and least-toxic chemicals are preferred. IPM originated in agricultural research in the 1950s, but now is preferred in structural pest control as well as landscaping.

IPM focuses on designing, installing, and maintaining healthy pest-resistant landscapes.

IPM Steps

  1. Correctly identify the pest (weed, insect, disease, etc.) and understand its life cycle.
  2. Establish tolerance/action thresholds: accept some pests, weeds etc.
  3. Monitor regularly to detect pest problems.
  4. Modify maintenance program to promote plant health and discourage pests. Gradually replace pest-prone plants.
  5. If pests exceed tolerance/action threshold, use cultural, physical, mechanical or biological controls first. If those prove insufficient, use the least-toxic chemical control and application method with least non-target impact, at the most effective time.
  6. Evaluate & record effectiveness of control, and modify maintenance or plant choices to support recovery and prevent recurrence.

IPM Questions? Call the experts!

Email the Garden Hotline or call (206) 633-0224, or the UW Miller Library Plant Answer Line (206) 897-5268. Both are free. They accept emailed photos of problems and will research the most effective, least-toxic solutions for landscape professionals and homeowners.

Related links

Additional IPM resources

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Public Utilities

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.