Plant Selection

Host plant resistance is one of the basic steps in an integrated approach to pest management. Managing the health and beauty of trees, shrubs and flowers with minimal pesticide use is often called integrated pest management or IPM. It involves looking at the total landscape; identifying the particular pests or growing conditions that appear to be causing a problem; and if any action needs to be taken, choosing from a variety of sound management strategies. These strategies include cultural practices and several types of "control" including biological, genetic, mechanical or physical, regulatory, and chemical. IPM has been called the common sense approach to controlling pests.

One of the most important components of many IPM programs is called host plant resistance, which is a type of genetic control. Host plant resistance means using plants that have been selected or genetically manipulated to become resistant or less susceptible to pests. It is often considered by landscape managers to be one of the most important tactics available to them. Some plants that can be used for host plant resistance include:

- oriental dogwoods that are resistant to diseases such as powdery mildew and anthracnose
Japanese beetle
- crabapple varieties that are resistant to Japanese beetles and scab Crown gall
- and there are some species of plants that simply have few pests

It is also a good idea to consider growing plants that are native to your area, or native to an area with similar growing conditions. Select plants that are suited to the conditions in your landscape including amount of shade, soil fertility and pH, and drainage. Plants in a location that does not suit them will be stressed, vulnerable to attack from pests and diseases, and may require more care. In summary, plant selection is one of the most important decisions made concerning the future success of a landscape planting. Making wise choices can result in better looking plants with fewer problems.